What is there in the waters of Barnes that holds such an attraction for artists and music makers? Since George Frideric Handel’s sojourn at Barn Elms in 1713, a succession of leading composers have made the village their home. From Gustav Holst and Herbert Howells to Carl Davis and Roxanna Panufnik, they have raised children and written music to the accompaniment of the birds on the Common, and the ebb and flow of the tidal Thames.
So have they found inspiration in this greenest of London villages? Or is it mere coincidence that has turned a corner of South West London into a creative hub?
In this book to mark the 2016 Barnes Music Festival, BBC broadcaster Eleanor Oldroyd has put together informative and often affectionate biographical profiles of eight leading Barnes composers.