October 13, 2011
Magna Carta: why celebrate?
By Professor Sir James Holt
The answer to my question depends on many things. I shall not ask or attempt to answer – why celebrate anything at all? But in this case it’s worth asking what there has been celebrated, when, where and by whom? and what, if anything, there is to celebrate now. For Magna Carta 1215 is a date for all of us (or was until recently). Such documents make prosaic reading. This is the only one as far as I know to have attracted serious music – Kurt Weill’s Ballad of Magna Carta composed for the CBS radio programme The Pursuit of Happiness in 1940. The coincidence of composer, topic, programme and date is a poignant reminder of the Charter’s enduring fame.
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Magna Carta: Why Celebrate?