Beyond Britten: The Composer and the Community

Beyond Britten: The Composer and the Community

Edited by Peter Wiegold, Ghislaine Kenyon


Boydell Press



Leading composers, producers and writers consider the role of the composer in the community in Britain today and over the last fifty years.
With his Aspen award lecture (1964), Benjamin Britten expressed a unique commitment to community and place. This book revisits this seminal lecture, but then uses it as a starting point of reflection, inviting leading composers, producers and writers to consider the role of the composer in the community in Britain in the last fifty years.
Colin Matthews, Jonathan Reekie and John Barber reflect on Britten's aspirations as a composer and the impact of his legacy, and Gillian Moore surveys the ideals of composers since the 1960s. Eugene Skeef and Tommy Pearson discuss the influence of the London Sinfonietta, while Katie Tearle reviews the tradition of community opera at Glyndebourne. Nigel Osborne and Judith Webster explore the role of music as therapy, and James Redwood, Amoret Abis, Sean Gregory and Douglas Mitchell look at music in the classroom and creative workshops. John Sloboda, Detta Danford and Natasha Zielazinski discuss collaboration in music-making and ways of facilitating exchanges between the composer and the audience, while Christopher Fox and Howard Skempton examine the role of modernism and the use of 'other', radical techniques to stimulate new dialogues between composer and community. Peter Wiegold and Amoret Abis interview Sir Harrison Birtwistle, John Woolrich and Phillip Cashian, and Wiegold discusses his formative experiences in encountering music-making in other cultures.
All of these approaches to the role and identity of the composer throw a different light on how we address 'the composer and the community': the varied, sometimes contradictory, motivations of composers; the role of music in 'enhancing lives'; the concept of 'outreach' and the different ways this is pursued; and, finally, the meaning of 'community'. Underpinning each are genuine questions about the relationship of arts to society. This book will appeal not only to composers, performers and practitioners of contemporary music but to anyone interested in the changes in twentieth-century music practice, music in education, and the role of music and the arts in the wider community and society. PETER WIEGOLD is a composer, conductor and the director of Club Inégales and the Institute of Composing. He is a Research Professor of Music at Brunel University, and also director of the 'Brunel Institute for Contemporary Middle-Eastern Music' (BICMEM).
GHISLAINE KENYON is an author, freelance arts education consultant and curator.


November 2015
17 black and white, 33 line illustrations
312 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Aldeburgh Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781843839651
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS006000, MUS007000, MUS041000
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Table of Contents

Peter Wiegold and Ghislaine Kenyon: Introduction - Peter Wiegold and Ghislaine Kenyon
Benjamin Britten: On Receiving the First Aspen Award (reprint)
Colin Matthews: 'Music is now free for all': Britten's Aspen Award Speech - Colin Matthews
Howard Skempton: Britten and Cardew - Howard Skempton
Christopher Fox: After the Fludde: ambitious music for all-comers - Christopher Fox
Gillian Moore: 'A vigorous unbroken tradition': British composers and the community since the beginning of the twentieth century - Gillian Moore
Eugene Skeef: 'I am because you are' - Eugene Skeef
Tommy Pearson: 'A real composer coming talk to us' - Tommy Pearson
Nigel Osborne: Running away from rock 'n' roll - Nigel Osborne
John Barber: Finding a place in Society; finding a voice - John Barber
James Redwood: A matrix of possibilities - James Redwood
Katie Tearle: 'I was St Francis' - Katie Tearle
Judith Webster: Reflections on Composers, Orchestras and Communities: motivation, music and meaning' - Judith Webster
Douglas Mitchell: 'Sounding good with other people' - Douglas Mitchell
Peter Wiegold and Amoret Abis: 'Making Music is How you Understand It': Dartington Conversations with Harrison Birtwistle, Philip Cashian, Peter Wiegold and John Woolrich - Peter Wiegold
Peter Wiegold and Amoret Abis: 'Making Music is How you Understand It': Dartington Conversations with Harrison Birtwistle, Philip Cashian, Peter Wiegold and John Woolrich - Amoret Abis
John Sloboda: The Composer and the Audience - John Sloboda
Amoret Abis:The Composer in the Classroom - Amoret Abis
Sean Gregory: Unleashed: Collaboration, Connectivity and Creativity - Sean Gregory
Detta Danford and Natasha Zielazinski: One Equal Music - Detta Danford and Natasha Zielazinski
Peter Wiegold: That's how it happens - Peter Wiegold
Jonathan Reekie: Britten's Holy Triangle - Jonathan Reekie
Peter Wiegold: Appendix: A Practice - Peter Wiegold


An incredibly rich discourse. . . . (A)ppeals across a broad audience and is a resource that will offer much on repeat encounters. . . . The true significance of the volume, however, is in its potential to provoke change and action: that after an encounter with these essays an individual would be moved to consider how music in all of its many forms and disciplines might make a difference within his or her community. NABMSA REVIEWS

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