Books and Publications



Publications from the Hans Keller Archive

Plumbago books are currently publishing a series of texts from the Hans Keller Archive based at the Cambridge University Library: The Jerusalem Diary, Music and Psychology, Film Music and Beyond, Hans Keller and Internment and Benjamin Britten: The Musical Character and Other Writings.


The Jerusalem Diary

Hans Keller: The Jerusalem Diary. Music, Society and Politics, 1977 and 1979
with drawings by Milein Cosman; edited by Christopher Wintle and Fiona Williams
234pp + 32pp of drawings
softback: ISBN 0-9540123-0-5, £15

The Jerusalem Diary was the remarkable fruit of two visits in 1977 and 1979 to the Mishkenot Sha’ananim by a highly articulate, shrewd and witty polymath steeped in music, sociology and psychoanalysis. A record of the artistic, social and political life of Israel at a crucial juncture in its history.


Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society ‘Book of the Year’, 2001

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Music and Psychology

Hans Keller: Music and Psychology
edited by Christopher Wintle (with Alison Garnham)
268+xx pp.; 8 illustrations and 19 musical examples
hardback: ISBN 0-9540123-1-3, £32; softback: ISBN 0-9540123-2-1, £20

Based on unpublished writings held in The Hans Keller Archive, University Library Cambridge, this volume lays out the foundations of Keller's highly original and influential critical enterprise in the sociological and psychological currents prevalent in London in the 1940's.

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Film Music and Beyond

Hans Keller: Film Music and Beyond: Writings on Music and the Screen, 1946-59
edited by Christopher Wintle
256+xxxii pp.
hardback: ISBN 0-9540123-7-2, £40; softback: ISBN 0-9540123-6-4, £15.99

This book brings together the bulk of Hans Keller's writings on music and the screen and arranges them in four parts – topics, composers, criticism and television music – with a preface arguing ‘The Need for Competent Film Music Criticism’. The result is a fastidiously observed and unparalleled account of a great era for British film music and a volume that in philosophical and ethical rigour stands well beside the celebrated Composing for the Films (1949) by Hanns Eisler and Theodor Adorno.

‘It [is] quite fascinating and a revelation of how the subject can be dealt with. If there is ever to be a ‘serious’ course about Film Music, it would surely have to based on this book. It's also very beautifully produced.’ Alexander Goehr, formerly Professor of Music, University of Cambridge

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Hans Keller and Internment

Alison Garnham: Hans Keller and Internment: The Development of an Emigré Musician 1938-48
edited by Christopher Wintle
314+xiv pp.
hardback: 978-0-9556087-7-3; softback: ISBN 978-0-9556087-8-0

This book is a poignant and authoritative chronicle of Hans Keller’s experience in Austria during the Kristallnacht, his move to London in 1938, his time in Internment Camps in Huyton and the Isle of Man, and the subsequent years up until 1948 as he began to establish himself in the musical and cultural life of London. It includes a number of texts by Keller himself and ends with an affectionate memoir by Donald Mitchell (his co-editor on Music Survey), ‘Hans Keller in the Early Days’.

‘Alison Garnham paints a richly evocative picture of life in British internment as experienced by the 21-year-old Hans Keller, a frustrated, multi-talented ‘Hitler Emigré’ who was later to make such a memorable impact on the cultural life of his new homeland.’ Daniel Snowman (author of The Hitler Emigrés)

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Hans Keller: Britten

Hans Keller: Benjamin Britten: The Musical Character and Other Writings
edited by Christopher Wintle
hardback: 978-0-9566007-4-5; softback: 978-0-9566007-5-2

In 2013 Plumbago will celebrate the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten with Hans Keller’s Britten. The Creative Character and Other Writings, a selection of the principal essays on the composer by his lifelong champion Hans Keller, including previously unpublished correspondence and other rarely available work.


The Poetics of Music

The Poetics of Music is a new series of books and monographs developed by Plumbago Books in association with King’s College London, one of the leading centres of musicology in Britain. The intention is to explore topics of musical composition from both their platonic and their historical points of view, and by combining formal, affective and aesthetic issues to create a new kind of ‘Poetics of Music’. The field is restricted to the Western European classical tradition with no discrimination between ‘old’ and ‘new’. Although the volumes are scholarly and specialized, they should also stimulate composers and performers, together with all those who believe that creative listening depends upon understanding the creative challenge.


The Variations of Johannes Brahms

Julian Littlewood: The Variations of Johannes Brahms
edited by Christopher Wintle, introduced by Alexander Goehr
370+xiv pp.; 451 examples, 31 figures and 11 illustrations
hardback: ISBN 0-9540123-3-X, £35; softback: ISBN 0-9540123-4-8; £20

Variation is a fundamental musical principle, yet its most naked expression – variation form – resists all but the broadest descriptions. This book offers listener, performer, analyst and composer an eclectic array of approaches to ‘Theme and Variations’...

Littlewood’s is a major and indispensable contribution… This is the kind of book that has stimulus and value beyond the confines of its immediate subject. It will provide an essential point of reference for students of the timeless musical art and principle of variation in general. Michael Musgrave, Musicologica Austriaca

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Towards a Poetics of Music and the Arts

Christopher Wintle: Towards a Poetics of Music and the Arts
with Ana Maria Pacheco, Works with Music, edited by Julian Littlewood
72 pp.; 10 illustrations
softback: ISBN 0-9540123-9-9; £5.99

Our specialist times have left little room for the age-old view that, however transmuted, the issues of art and life belong together, or that, for all their differences, the arts have shared concerns: yet realism demands just such an outlook. Towards a Poetics of Music and the Arts is an informal attempt to re-open closed borders by an established writer on music, Christopher Wintle.

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All the Gods

Christopher Wintle: All the Gods: Benjamin Britten’s Nightpiece in Context
edited by Julian Littlewood
126+x pp.; 210 x 297mm;
hardback: ISBN 0-9540123-8-0; softback: ISBN 978-0-9556087-9-7

Peter Pears once said of Benjamin Britten that ‘musically, he is not a Unitarian, he is a Greek who worships all the gods.’ For us too, Britten’s music demands that we respond to a language deeply embedded in the Western tradition. This study is devoted to a work written for the first Leeds International Pianoforte Competition of 1963, the Night-piece (Notturno) for piano solo, and erects a number of ‘shrines’ as a way of approaching not just this piece but Britten’s output as a whole.

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Staking Out the Territory

Hugh Wood: Staking Out the Territory and other Writings on Music
with William Scott, Rough Circles, edited by Christopher Wintle
210+xiv pp. with 8 colour plates
hardback: ISBN 978-0-9556087-0-4, £40; softback: ISBN 978-0-9556087-1-1, £15.99

Ever since his early days, Hugh Wood has pursued a triple career as composer, teacher and writer. This selection of writings is in three parts and shows three aspects to the quest. The first addresses his own experience; the second maps out the historical and cultural context for a number of orchestral and chamber works in a set of concert essays; and the third draws together several composer-vignettes from his recent reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.


The book marks his seventy-fifth birthday and includes eight works by the British artist, William Scott.

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The Way We Listen Now

Bayan Northcott: The Way We Listen Now
edited by Christopher Wintle
224+xvi pp. with 27 B&W illustrations
hardback: ISBN 978-0-9556087-2-8; softback: ISBN 978-0-9556087-3-5

This is the first selection of essays by Bayan Northcott, one of the most distinguished British music critics of the generation that followed Hans Keller (1919-85). For many decades he has captivated readers with his breadth of his knowledge, acuity and pursuit of the highest standards, at the same time that he was emerging as a composer. So it is the meeting point of critic and artist that these writings celebrate.

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The Way We Listen Now

Christopher Wintle: Metapoetics: Aphorisms, Thoughts and Maxims on Life, Art and Music
xx+156 pp. with 14 B&W illustrations
hardback: ISBN 978-0-9566007-0-7; softback: ISBN 978-0-9566007-1-4

This is an attempt to organize the precepts that stand behind the making and reception of the arts into a unified body of thought. This includes a set of ten illustrations of imaginary ‘Beasts’ by the distinguished Brazilian artist, Ana Maria Pacheco.

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The Way We Listen Now

Christopher Dromey: The Pierrot Ensembles: Chronicle and Catalogue, 1912-2012
edited by Christopher Wintle
xii+300 pp. with 16 B&W illustrations
hardback: ISBN 978-0-9566007-2-1; softback: ISBN 978-0-9566007-3-8

2012 is the centenary of the first performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21, and over the last hundred years its mixed chamber ensemble has become, in all its protean forms, a principal line-up for modern music. This book, the first of its kind, chronicles the ensemble’s evolution from Pierrot’s earliest performances, monitoring its influence on the Continent as well as upon Walton, Britten, Lutyens and Searle in Britain.

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General list


BBC Music in the Glock Era and After

Leo Black: BBC Music in the Glock Era and After: A Memoir
edited by Christopher Wintle with Kate Hopkins
xii+300 pp. with 16 B&W illustrations
hardback: ISBN 978-0-9566007-2-1; softback: ISBN 978-0-9566007-3-8

BBC Music thrived in the golden and now controversial era from 1959-72 when Sir William Glock was Controller, Radio 3. Leo Black’s memoir is not just a well-placed insider’s ‘factual account of how the Music Programmes Department was organized’ at this time and after, but also an astute and witty study of key personalities. For those who want to understand the history of the BBC in the post-war years through the eyes of a sensitive and articulate musician, this is a key document, as readable as it is informative.

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The Way We Listen Now

Joe Bain: The Book of Bain: Verses, Orations and Essays
edited by Justin Wintle
x+70 pp. with 16 B&W illustrations

Joe Bain (1928-2011) taught English, French and German at Stowe and Winchester. The Book of Bain gathers together his surviving verses: playful limericks and crafty clerihews, other shorter pieces along with a few fine translations, thoughtful homilies on some of his colleagues and lively orations for Winchester. Overall, this body of work captures not only his famously exuberant humour but also his more personal feelings. By contrast, the book ends with five measured but perceptive dictionary essays on Browning, Housman, MacNeice, Rostand and Yeats.

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Music Manuscript Paper

Music Manuscript Paper (A3 Pads)
Suitable for Voice-leading Analysis and Musical Composition
comprises 25 sheets of 4 two-stave systems and 5 sheets of 3 three-stave systems
ISBN 0-9540123-5-6, £4.95

These pads were designed specifically for use by composers and music analysts. They are available from a variety of outlets, and bespoke branding for bulk orders can be arranged.

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‘Dancers’: 2010 calendar
28pp, 300x300mm
ISBN 0-9556087-6-6, £9.95

An exceptionally beautiful 2010 wall-calendar with illustrations by Milein Cosman. Entitled ‘Dancers’, it gathers images from round the world, especially the Far East.

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