Following London’s Blue Plaques Through Musical History

7 Harley Road, Swiss Cottage

Clara Butt was an English live performance singer who was recognized for her thunderous contralto voice — a voice so loud that the conductor Thomas Beecham as soon as mentioned you would hear it throughout the English Channel on a transparent day. It captivated such composers as Camille Saint-Saëns and Edward Elgar, who wrote a music cycle supposed for her referred to as “Sea Pictures.” She was educated on the Royal College of Music, made her debut on the Royal Albert Hall on the age of 20, and have become a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire after organizing a sequence of concert events throughout World War I. She had super stage presence, thanks partly to her top: she was over 6 ft tall. Her later years had been profoundly tough. She misplaced two sons, one in all them to suicide, and was struck down by most cancers of the backbone; many late recordings had been made in a wheelchair.

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four Elsworthy Road, Belsize Park

Henry Wood was a distinguished British conductor who guest-conducted the Berlin and New York Philharmonic Orchestras and led world premieres of orchestral items by Britten, Delius and Elgar. Yet he made his most lasting mark on British musical life because the founding father of the Proms (now the BBC Proms, beginning this yr on July 13), an annual season of promenade concert events that rank at the moment as one of many world’s greatest classical-music festivals. It all began in 1894, when Wood organized a set of concert events on the Queen’s Hall. Eager to open up classical music to a broader viewers, he then began a season of nightly promenade concert events there in 1895 and met with instant success. He initially supplied an accessible repertoire of favorites and steadily modernized the slate to incorporate such composers as Debussy and Schönberg. The Proms moved to the Royal Albert Hall in 1941 and are nonetheless carried out there.

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Michael Costa (1808-84)

Wilton Court, 59 Eccleston Square, Belgravia

Michael Costa was born in Naples, Italy, and carried out his musical research there. A prolific composer, he wrote his first cantata on the age of 15 and penned many different works, together with the opera “Don Carlos” (it predated Verdi’s, the premiere of which Costa carried out) and the ballet “Sir Huon” (written for the ballet dancer Marie Taglioni). His compositions had been to not everybody’s liking: When Costa despatched Rossini his oratorio “Eli” in 1855, Rossini wrote: “The good Costa has sent me an oratorio score and a Stilton cheese. The cheese was very good.”

Costa may need spent his life in Italy had it not been for a conducting engagement in Birmingham, England, in 1829; he determined to settle in Britain, and arrived in London the subsequent yr. He was the opera conductor at Her Majesty’s Theatre till 1846, when he moved to the Covent Garden Theatre. Today, he’s greatest recognized for his orchestral association of “God Save the Queen.”

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