9 Pages

Chapter Eight: Patriotism and War (1): 1914–1918

Until at least the 1930s, British colonies, dominions and protectorates were regarded in the United Kingdom as physical possessions, and the British Empire had become a peerless example of mercantile theory. Throughout the nineteenth century it was seen of the greatest importance to defend and extend this empire. When in August 1914, war actually broke out, most musicians felt themselves to be in a precarious position, for it was feared there would be a total cessation of all musical activity. With the situation looking so grim for music, a meeting was held on 13 October 1914 in the Small Queen's Hall, London, with Sir Frederick Cowen in the chair. The songs produced for home consumption in the first year of the war were marked by an almost unreal insouciance, which was to reappear a quarter of a century later in the opening stages of the Second World War.