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Musical Map of the British Isles
by Em Marshall-Luck and Geoff Sawyers (£10, stiff paper, approx. 60 x 42 cm available from the English Music Festival)
(Click map to enlarge)

First, a couple of declarations of interest that should be borne in mind when considering the enthusiasm for this map expressed below. I played a small part in its existence by being one of many sponsors persuaded by Em Marshall-Luck, Director of the English Music Festival, to part with relatively modest sums. This is an excellent model which also seems to have enabled her to get EM Records off the ground and produce six records of hitherto unrecorded English music in short order. Secondly, when I was about six I used to spend my pocket money, not on crisps like other kids did at the time, but at the local petrol station buying Esso road maps of Great Britain. I have been fascinated by maps ever since and have boxes full of them that survived a house move when much else didnít. This one, however, seems different to all the rest.
When Em put the idea forward, I mistakenly thought that she wanted to produce a map with lots of musical names on it. But what we have here is a map which exists solely through the names. Within a consistent style in several colours, endless variations of size, shape and position, she and Geoff Sawyers have produced a map without lines covering England, Wales, Ireland and the Scottish Lowlands. Perhaps all the talk of independence was in the creatorsí minds or perhaps they just didnít have enough material or space for the rest of Scotland. Counting the number of names seems like hard work and therefore I am just going to guess that there might be about 200 of them. Most are composers and the most important composers tend to get more prominence. At the heart of the map across a great swathe of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire lie Elgar, Holst and Vaughan Williams. Locations should not be regarded as precise Ė this is a work of art rather than science. Many of the names could have been put in more than one location.
The great thing about this map is that the eye is continually drawn to something new and I am sure that even the most erudite musical Brit will be able to look at many names and wonder what the link is between place and person. Did you know that the Amadeus Quartet have an association with the Isle of Man or Albert KetŤlbey with the Isle of Wight? Just where is Ethel Smyth? It looks as though she has been wrecked off the Cornish coast, presumably during the course of her opera.
Omissions? Not many spring to mind, only really Arthur Butterworth whom I had hoped to find near Skipton but he isnít there and I havenít come across him yet. There is so much on this map that I canít be 100% certain he isnít somewhere else. The only way in which I can think of by which the map might have been improved is by an alphabetical index on the back. Perhaps that would have spoiled some of the fun.
This is a map which every lover of British music will want to have on their wall and would make a perfect birthday or Christmas present. Bravo to its creators!
Patrick C Waller
A map which every lover of British music will want to have on their wall.


































































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