Kern wrote some of the world's best-known and most enduring popular songs, including 'Smoke gets in your eyes' and 'Ol' man river'. Yet only one of his 40 stage musicals, Show Boat, is known today, all but a handful of his 1000 published songs are out of print, hundreds more, and most of the libretti, were never published, none of the major books on him contains a bibliography, and the great changes in performance practice during his lifetime have scarcely been considered. The joys and frustrations of reconstructing and recontextualising such an output lead to important questions about cultural change and ownership. The lecture will be illustrated with live examples sung by students from the Royal College of Music.
Stephen Banfield, Stanley Hugh Badock Professor of Music, The University of Bristol