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.


Holst and India

Holst and India

Nalini Ghuman discusses the influence of Indian culture on Gustav Holst's music

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Music politics and society theme

Promoting New Music in Britain

Annika Forkert explores some intersections between British composition and music programming and the so-called new music in Europe.

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Michael Tippett - Child of our Time

Shadow and light in war and peace: Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time

Oliver Soden discusses the historical context and inspiration behind Michael Tippett’s famous ‘modern oratorio’ A Child of our Time.

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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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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 ...