Monthly Archives: January 2016

Study day on ‘Brigg Fair’

This exciting event for Year 12 students considering studying Music at university is FREE and now open for booking.

Year 12 Music Study Day – Delius’s Brigg Fair: an introduction to studying Music at university

Merton College in collaboration with the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford

Organisers: Professor Daniel Grimley and Dr Joanna Bullivant

Friday 18 March 2016

One of the aspects of studying Music at university that can be daunting for prospective students is musical analysis. This can involve not only understanding how music works, but connecting that information to what we know about a composer, the historical context of a work, and other music being written at the same time. This study-day, aimed at Year 12 A Level Music students, will help students to learn more about undergraduate analysis and music history, using the case-study of the English composer Frederick Delius and his orchestral work Brigg Fair. With the help of Oxford academics currently carrying out a research project on Delius, students will experience a lecture on the work and then be aided in carrying out some of their own analysis. Lunch will be provided at Merton College, along with a tour of the college and an admissions talk at the end of the day. This is an ideal opportunity to learn more about a fascinating composer, and get a first-hand impression of what it is like to study Music at university.


9.30-10.00 Arrival at the Faculty of Music

10.00 Lecture on Delius’s Brigg Fair with Professor Daniel Grimley

11.00 Brief tour of library; group work on analysis of Brigg Fair

12.00 Lunch in Hall at Merton College followed by tour of college by current undergraduates

13.30 Return to Faculty; complete group work on Brigg Fair

14.30 Plenary session: reporting on group work, conclusions

15.30 Oxford admissions talk- opportunity to ask questions

16.30 Depart

Preparation: Participating students are asked to listen to the work with the score in advance of the day. The score is available as a free download online at,_Frederick)

Application form:

This form should be completed by a school/college rather than by individual students. Up to three Year 12 Music A Level students can attend from each school/college, subject to availability. Students can attend by themselves or with a teacher.

If you have any queries about the content of the day, please direct them to: Alternatively any queries about the practical arrangements should be directed to



‘L’Entente cordiale’

On the 25th November the Villiers Quartet performed a wonderful programme of string quartets by Delius, Fauré, and Elgar, alongside the original ‘Late Swallows’ slow movement of the Delius quartet. The event marked the start of the Villiers’ three-year residency at the Music Faculty of the University of Oxford. Professor Daniel Grimley began the evening with a pre-concert talk that situated all three quartets within their historical context of musical upheaval, trauma, and war. All three composers were creating their works at a time when Schoenberg and Bartók were redefining the genre. The Fauré E minor quartet (1924) is a late work completed after World War One, full of subdued intensity and intimacy. Both the Elgar (1917) and Delius (1916-17) quartets were composed in rural seclusion, but in full proximity to war. While Elgar could hear the guns on the Western Front from ‘Brinkwells’, the cottage in Sussex in which he composed a selection of important late works, Delius had returned to his house in Grez following his forced migration from the approach of the German army at the start of the war.

The Villiers Quartet brought out the collective character of mourning and intimacy in the works, as well as their individual differences, superbly. In the Delius and Elgar quartets in particular, the range and subtlety of expression in each work was evident. The original ‘Late Swallows’ movement, heard for the first time in 99 years, was haunting, while the last movement, performed at a more languid tempo than is sometimes the case, maintained the intensity of the work as a whole. The concert was a memorable opening to what promises to be an exciting collaboration between the Faculty and the Villiers Quartet.

A podcast of highlights of Professor Grimley’s talk and excerpts of the original ‘Late Swallows’ movement is available here.