Benjamin Britten Studies: Essays on An Inexplicit Art

Benjamin Britten Studies: Essays on An Inexplicit Art

Edited by Vicki P. Stroeher, Justin Vickers


Boydell Press



Bringing together established authorities and new voices, this book takes off the 'protective arm' around Britten.
Benjamin Britten Studies brings together established authorities and new voices to offer a fresh perspective on previous scholarship models and a re-contextualization of previously held beliefs about Britten. Using the most recent and innovative historical, musicological, sociological, psychological, and theoretical methodologies, the authors take off the 'protective arm' around Britten and disclose an unprecedented amount of previously unpublished and disregarded primary source materials. The collection considers difficult questions of identity such as Britten's retreat to America, his re-entry into the British musical scene, and late-life revisions of his American works; scrutinizes the fraught establishing of the English Opera Group contemporaneous with the founding of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts; explores his break with Boosey & Hawkes and inspects international copyright concerns in the Soviet Union' investigates sensitive issues of intimacy and Britten's relationships; and combines closer analysis of Britten's musico-rhythmic, harmonic, and compositional practices with a description of the more overtly political context within which he found himself. Benjamin Britten Studies ends by asking what we can actually know about the composer in a reconsideration of the materials he left behind. All of this coalesces into a volume that not only serves as a model of on-going and future Britten research but which generates a greater understanding of the overall trends within the ever-synthesizing and interdisciplinary musicological field of the twenty-first century.

VICKI P. STROEHER is Professor of Music History at Marshall University.

JUSTIN VICKERS is Assistant Professor of Voice at Illinois State University.

Contributors: Byron Adams, Nicholas Clark, Jenny Doctor, Paul Kildea, Christopher Mark, Thornton Miller, Louis Niebur, Philip Reed, Colleen Renihan, Philip Rupprecht, Kevin Salfen, Vicki P. Stroeher, Justin Vickers, Lucy Walker, Danielle Ward-Griffin, Lloyd Whitesell


June 2017
20 black and white, 44 line illustrations
554 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Aldeburgh Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781783271955
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Editors' Preface - Vicki P. Stroeher and Justin Vickers
Introduction: Writing About Britten - Philip Reed
The Shock of Exile: Britten and the American Years - Paul Kildea
Britten, Paul Bunyan, and "American-ness" - Vicki P. Stroeher
Collaborating with Corwin, CBS, and the BBC: Britten's Re-entry into British Radio in 1942 - Jenny Doctor
An Empire Built On Shingle: Britten, the English Opera Group, and the Aldeburgh Festival - Justin Vickers
"Save Me From Those Suffering Boys": Britten, John Ireland, and the Venerable Tradition of Uranian Boy Worship in England - Byron Adams
Britten's [and Pears's] "Beloved": Sacred Parlor Song, Passion, and Control in Canticle I - Louis Niebur
Notes of Unbelonging - Lloyd Whitesell
"Take These Tokens That You May Feel Us Near": Remembrance and Renewed Citizenship in Britten's Gloriana - Colleen Renihan
Traces of No: Modularity and Saturation in The Burning Fiery Furnace and The Prodigal Son - Kevin Salfen
Britten and the Augmented Sixth - Christopher Mark
Quickenings of the Heart: Notes on Rhythm and Tempo in Britten - Philip Rupprecht
Reviving Paul Bunyan - Danielle Ward-Griffin
Striking A Compromise: Britten, British Publishers, Soviet Theatres, and the Premieres of Peter Grimes and The Prince of the Pagodas - Thornton Miller
From Boosey & Hawkes to Faber Music: Britten Seeks a "Composer's Place" - Nick Clark
The Man Himself - Lucy Walker
Epilogue: Liminalities and Britten - Vicki P. Stroeher and Justin Vickers
Works Cited


Deepen[s] our understanding of the composer and his music, whilst also revealing that we can never fully 'know' Britten in spite of our access to documents, recordings and, of course, the music...Witty and thought-provoking. FONTES ARTIS MUSICAE

An interesting collection of essays on aspects of the composter, his life and compositions. SPIRITED, THE GAZETTE OF THE ENGLISH MUSIC FESTIVAL

[S]erves its subject as a repository of expert disquisitions: "studies" indeed. . . . [The] admirable and welcome . . . chapters in this beautifully produced book -- a work of art in itself -- combine to demonstrate protean aspects of [Britten]. NABMSA REVIEWS

These essays, some the result of this new access, include...Kevin Salfen's very fine chapter on No drama...Jenny Doctor on Britten's wartime radio work and Byron Adams on the little-explored influence of John Ireland. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

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