Essays on Benjamin Britten from a Centenary Symposium

Coming to terms with Britten’s music is no easy task. The complex, often contradictory language associated with Britten’s style likely stems from his double interest in progressive composition and immediate connection with a broad, popular audience – an apparent paradox in the splintered musical culture of the 20th century – as well as from complicated truths in his own life, such as his love for a country that accepted neither his sexuality nor his politics. As a result, the attempt to describe his music can tell us as much about our own biases and the inadequacies of our analytic tools as it does about the music itself. Such audits of our scholarly language and strategies are vital in light of the still-murky view we have of twentieth century music. This opportunity for academic self-reflection is the reason Britten studies such as this book are so important. The essays included here challenge assumptions about musical constructs, relationships between text and music, and the influences of age, spirituality, and personal relationships on compositional technique.

Part One offers nine essays originally compiled for a symposium designed to recognize the composer’s unique and varied contributions to music. The authors include performers, musicologists, and music theorists, and their work will appeal to a wide diversity of readers. The topics and methodologies range from archival research and analysis of text and music to theoretical modelling using techniques such as set theory, metric theory, and prolongation. While the papers were initially conceived in isolation from one another, the collaborative focus of the symposium created opportunities for authors to expose points of intersection. This deliberate reconciliation of lines of inquiry has yielded a more balanced and unified collection of essays than typically found in a simple record of proceedings. Furthermore, the chapters presented here benefit from the wealth of Britten research produced since the 2013 centenary.

Part Two provides an account of the symposium performances and lecture recitals that accompanied and enriched the academic presentations. The reader will encounter fully the journey taken by symposium presenters, participants, and attendees by reviewing the concerts, lecture recitals, and papers in the context of the full symposium program.

David Forrest serves as Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Texas Tech University, USA. He has presented research in Belgium, France, England, Wales, and across the USA on tonal and post-tonal analysis, music theory pedagogy, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. His work has been published in Music Theory Spectrum, Oxford Bibliographies Online, and College Music Symposium and he has earned research awards from the Texas Society for Music Theory and the South Central Society for Music Theory. Dr Forrest serves on the Executive Board of the Texas Society for Music Theory and as President of the West Texas Children’s Chorus.

Quinn Patrick Ankrum, mezzo soprano, is Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, USA and has taught at Texas Tech University, the State University of New York at Fredonia, and Nazareth College, USA. She has performed across the USA, as well as in Mexico, the UK, Italy, and France. Her areas of research are eclectic and include the vocal music of living American composers (she is co-creator of the Living Song Project with Dr Elizabeth Avery, University of Oklahoma), musicians’ health and wellness, and 19th-century performance practice.

Stacey Jocoy is Associate Professor of Musicology at the School of Music at Texas Tech University, USA. Her work focuses on intersections of music, literature, and politics in Anglo-American musics, primarily in the early modern period and the eighteenth century. She also participates with the Vernacular Music Center at Texas Tech, for which she has written articles and edited a volume of their new journal, highlighting modern ballad studies. She is a recent recipient of fellowships from the Clark Memorial Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library and her most recent publications appear in the collection The Lords of Wine and Oile, concerning the cavalier poet Robert Herrick. She is editing the critical edition of John Playford’s Introduction to the Skill of Musick.

Emily Ahrens Yates is currently Adjunct Professor of Music Theory at the University of Texas at Arlington, USA, where she teaches music theory, aural skills and advanced and graduate music theory classes. Previously she taught music theory and aural skills at Texas Tech University and Texas Christian University, USA. Her research areas include work on Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Russian Folk Music, Ascending Urlinie, and octatonic and artificial scales. She has presented papers at numerous symposia throughout the states of Texas and in New York State. Professor Yates is also an accomplished bassoonist.

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ISBN: 1-4438-8613-0

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-8613-0

Release Date: 12th June 2017

Pages: 340

Price: £64.99