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. Reading her subtly calibrated alternation of text and commentary, one can almost taste the food the internees had to eat, feel the narrowness of the camp bedding, share Keller’s struggles with illness – and relish with him the prospect of release. Essential reading for anyone interested in Keller, the ‘Hitler Emigrés’, British wartime policy, immigration, music – and much else besides.
The Austro-German émigrés who fled Hitler for Britain in the late 1930s had to contend with the further upheaval of internment during 1940-41 as the Nazis threatened invasion. This fascinating new study traces the development of the eminent musician and writer Hans Keller before, during and after this period. The story begins in Vienna 1938 with Keller’s poignant memoir of the Kristallnacht and moves to London with his precocious account of England and the English. The internment months in Huyton and the Isle of Man are well documented through letters he sent home, and are supported by a detailed social and political account of the times. After release, Keller settled in London where, among other things, he burst into life as a remarkable, psychoanalytically-orientated commentator on music, composers and critics: a sketch of these years includes four early texts, among them the startling comparison of ‘Britten and Mozart’. This richly illustrated volume culminates in an affectionate memoir of ‘Hans Keller in the Early Days’ by his co-editor on the journal Music Survey, Donald Mitchell.
Alison Garnham was educated at Magdalen College Oxford and Goldsmiths’ College London. She became archivist in the Cambridge University Library for The Hans Keller Archive in 1996 and published her monograph Hans Keller and the BBC (Ashgate) in 2003. She was assistant editor for Keller’s Music and Psychology (Plumbago, 2003) and part of the team that produced The Proms: A New History (Thames and Hudson, 2007). She is currently a Research Associate at King’s College London.
Christopher Wintle (Editor) is a Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London. His monograph on Benjamin Britten, All the Gods, was published in 2006 (Plumbago), and he has edited four volumes of writings by Hans Keller and four further volumes, by Julian Littlewood, Hugh Wood, Bayan Northcott and Leo Black.