Claire Tomalin interviewed on BBC Radio 4
27 May 2009
Muriel Herbert's daughter, the noted writer and biographer Claire Tomalin, was interviewed on Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 on the 26th May. Claire talked to Jane Garvey about discovering and bringing to light her mother's compositions, and putting together ‘Songs of Muriel Herbert'.
Claire explains that her mother's settings were "written for whoever loves music...these really show what a musical heritage we have". Muriel wrote settings for poems of many of her contemporaries including James Joyce, W. B. Yeats and Charlotte Mew; the vivid imagery evoked in their works is reflected in her settings. Through Muriel's work Claire discovered her mother to be an "absolutely dedicated musician...someone who was passionately devoted to music and to composition".
Claire's acclaimed biographies of people such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Katherine Mansfield and Jane Austen offer insight into the realities of women's life in the past. The creation of ‘Songs of Muriel Herbert' is almost an extension of this: "I really care about professional women - I've written quite a lot about them - and women who have been undervalued. In a sense doing this disc is a continuation of some of the writing I've done to say that women's achievements really do need to be remembered and celebrated."
To listen to Claire Tomalin's interview on Woman's Hour please click here.
For more information on ‘Songs of Muriel Herbert' please click here.
James GilchristSongs of Muriel Herbert