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Blom, Eric (Walter)

Blom, Eric (Walter)

Blom, Eric (Walter), eminent English writer on music; b. Bern, Switzerland, Aug. 20, 1888; d. London, April 11, 1959. He was of Danish and British descent on his father’s side; his mother was Swiss. He was educated in England. He was the London music correspondent for the Manchester Guardian (1923–31); then was the music critic of the Birmingham Post (1931–46) and of The Observer in 1949; ed. Music & Letters from 1937 to 1950 and from 1954 to the time of his death; he was also ed. of the Master Musicians series. In 1955 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to music and received the honorary degree of D.Litt. from Univ. of Birmingham. In his writings, Blom combined an enlightened penetration of musical aesthetics with a literary capacity for presenting his subjects and stating his point of view in a brilliant journalistic manner. In his critical opinions, he never concealed his disdain for some composers of great fame and renown, such as Rachmaninoff. In 1946 he was entrusted with the preparation of a newly organized and greatly expanded ed. of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, which was brought out under his editorship in 1954, in 9 vols., and for which Blom himself wrote hundreds of articles and tr. entries by foreign contributors. In 1946 Blom publ. his first lexicographical work, Everyman’s Dictionary of Music, which went through several eds. before being thoroughly rev. by D. Cummings in 1988 as The New Everyman Dictionary of Music. His other books include Stepchildren of Music (1923); The Romance of the Piano (1927); A General Index to Modern Musical Literature in the English Language (1927; indexes periodicals for the years 1915–26); The Limitations of Music (1928); Mozart (1935; 6th ed., rev, 1974 by J. Westrup); Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas Discussed (1938); A Musical Postbag (1941; collected essays); Music in England (1942; rev. 1947); Some Great Composers (1944); Classics, Major and Minor, with Some Other Musical Ruminations (London, 1958).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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