English reactions to Debussy's and Ravel's String Quartets, Franck's Violin Sonata, or Fauré's and Chausson's Piano Quartets oscillated between irritation and fascination. The present study traces the diffusion and impact of this repertoire. French and English composers had long played only minor roles in London concert life. At the turn of the 20th century, both the promotion of native music and international transfer relations intensified. Saint-Saëns was already a regular guest, and Fauré began establishing himself, first in private circles. The Société des concerts français systematically disseminated the most recent chamber works. At the same time, writers such as Edwin Evans and G. Jean-Aubry propagated the French 'school' as a model for English music, which was expected to take example from the French break with Germanic models. In a setting where chamber music was increasingly valued, composers such as Frank Bridge, John Ireland, Cyril Scott, and Eugene Goossens engaged productively with the new sounds.
Press reviews and contemporary discourse, archival documents, letters and diaries, and an exploration of personal and compositional constellations create a panorama of cultural and stylistic history that expands the European perspective on the transformational period around 1900.