England a nation without music ?


“England is the country without music, said Schmitz. In the 1840s, the German poet Heinrich Heine who had been on a tour of England said “These people have no ear either for rhythm or music and their unnatural passion for piano playing and singing is all the more repulsive. Nothing on Earth is more terrible than English music,” said the shell-shocked aesthete, “except English painting.” .  We look at the world’s top composers, the real megastars, and in the first rank we see nothing but Germans or Austrians: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart. And when we get on to the second rank we find Wagner, Haydn, Rachmaninov.

If England were only a nation of shop-keepers and cultural mediocres ,how does she boast of such  a fine body of literature ? Apparently the explanation lies elsewhere .Perhaps they were simply too good at literature and too blessed in their freedom of expression, so that artistic temperaments did not feel the necessity to sublimate their feelings in music or painting.”

An interesting question that arises is : Is there anything in the genetics of the people of  a whole nation which predisposes them to a fine appreciation of music ?

Boris Johnson

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