Explore key works of early 20th-century classical music and discover the social, political and cultural contexts in which they were written. Featured composers include Berg, Britten, Delius, Elgar, Holst, Ravel, Schoenberg, Smyth, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams and Webern. Enjoy digitised treasures from our collections, sound recordings, and newly-commissioned articles.


British composers in the early 20th century

British composers in the early 20th century

Jeremy Dibble gives an overview of British composers in the early 20th century and their context.

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Ballet in Paris

Ballet in Paris in the early 20th century

Jane Pritchard discusses the ballet companies and their artists who were active in Paris in the early 20th century.

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Delius in his garden

Delius, Paris, Grez

Lionel Carley explores composer Frederick Delius’s long association with France, and how the distinctive landscapes of Paris and Grez-sur-Loing inspired some of his most famous scores.

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Society of Women Musicians

The Society of Women Musicians

Sophie Fuller discusses the history of the Society of Women Musicians and some of its leading members

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Explore key themes in early 20th-century classical music

Creative process

Find out how sketches, drafts, proofs and annotations can reveal the inner workings of a composer's mind

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Music and place theme

Music and place

Learn more about the impact of nationalism, folksong and a sense of place on classical music since 1900

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Music for stage and screen theme

Music for stage and screen

Learn more about the collaboration between composers and other artists in the creation of works for stage and screen

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Music politics and society theme

Music, politics and society

Discover the impact of war, political unrest and social structures on music composed since 1900

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Discover key composers, performers and conductors of the early 20th century


Explore key musical works of the early 20th century


Created by: Alban Berg

Alban Berg’s opera Lulu is based on the plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit) and Die Büchse der Pandora ...


Created by: Igor Stravinsky

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Stravinsky and his family were on one of their regular visits to ...

Brigg Fair

Created by: Frederick Delius

Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody (composed 1907) is indebted to the work of Delius’s friend, fellow composer ...