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Vol. 55 no. 1: Summer 2021

Blake and Music, 2020

  • Jason Whittaker
18 July 2021
18 Jul. 2021


While 2019 had been an incredibly productive year for settings of Blake to music and original pieces inspired by his poetry, my initial assumption was that, with all the difficulties caused by COVID, 2020 would be a much leaner year musically. Somewhat surprisingly, the past twelve months were incredibly rich in terms of musical adaptations, not only in the number of new releases, which surpassed 2019, but also because several took the form of whole albums dedicated to Blake’s work. It is clear that some releases—​those requiring full orchestras, for example—​were the products of months of preparation prior to the pandemic, and thus it may be that 2021 is the point at which we see an interruption in the flow of new recordings. In other instances, it is evident that artists used the time during lockdown to make recordings that were released via streaming, and the trend toward this means of distribution was only accelerated during 2020.