Perspective by Stephen Banfield, ‘What do you think of Stainer’s Crucifixion? Current Victorian musicology’

Stainer, 'God so Loved the World'

In his compelling survey of current work on musicology in JVC 15.1, Stephen Banfield considers how far scholars have challenged the popular disdain in which Victorian music held. Contempt for the period’s music, he suggests, is exemplified by the old joke about John Stainer’s cantata, The Crucifixion, first performed in 1887: ‘What do you think of Stainer’s Crucifixion?’ –  ‘I think it would be a very good thing.’ If it disagrees with us, he argues, it is because we perceive Victorian music as sentimental and feminine. The problem is ours, and we need to overcome our own prejudices, Banfield urges, in order to hear Victorian music on its own terms.

Listen to The Crucifixion

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