This thesis examines the reception history of Russian music in England from 1895- 1939, inclusive of Soviet music. It reveals the significant role which Russian music played in helping to shape and enrich English musical culture in the first four decades of the twentieth century -- a role which has hitherto not been recognized. In so doing, it draws attention to a "Russian theme” in English musical culture before the Second World War.
The thesis is presented in seven chapters. Chapter One establishes an historical context for the study by examining English perceptions of Russia and Russian music up to 1895, the nature of which proved fundamental to Russian music' s subsequent reception. The influence of such perceptions on Russian music’s English progress is clarified in Chapters Two to Six. The wider English recognition and dissemination of Russian music between 1895 and 1914, specifically in relation to the activities of Henry Wood and Sergei Diaghilev, is addressed in Chapter Two. This is followed by a closer examination of the coalescence of a specific image of Russian music in England between 1911 and 1919 as seen primarily through critical writings of the decade (Chapter Three). Chapters Four to Six then deal with the period 1920- 1939 and the English reception of Soviet music (Chapter Four) and non-Soviet Russian music (Chapters Five and Six) during these decades. Within each chapter attention is variously given to Russian orchestral, operatic, vocal and piano music, as these reflected the prevailing English response to the Russian repertoire at a particular time. The dissemination of the latter through scores, gramophone recordings and radio is also considered. The concluding discussion in Chapter Seven identifies the various factors which shaped the reception of Russian music in England, arguing a case for its importance within an English musico-historical context as a result of the nationalistic and cultural connotations which were assigned to it.