Books to Look out for in October 2022

The depiction and representation of performative acts in Old English texts; description of many of the finest examples of English Victorian Churches; a detailed study of the working relationship and productive friendship between Ralph Vaughan Williams and Adrian Boult; and much more! Enjoy this preview of some of the new releases to look out for this month.

Boult was one of Vaughan Williams’s most important interpreters, giving the world premieres of the Pastoral, Fourth and Sixth Symphonies, and collaborating with the composer on major projects, including the first complete recording of Vaughan Williams’s symphonies.
Boult’s scores include numerous annotations derived from conversations and correspondence with Vaughan Williams providing important evidence of the composer’s wishes, including adjustments to orchestration, comments on interpretation, and revisions to Vaughan Williams’s notoriously unreliable metronome marks. Further, Simeone considers the extensive correspondence between Vaughan Williams and Boult, Boult’s diaries and contemporary press reports.

Acts of performance, such as music, storytelling, and poetry recital, have made significant contributions to the rediscovery and widening popularity of Old English poetry. Although these performances capture the imagination, they also influence an audience’s view of the world of the original poems and can propagate assumptions, particularly those about performance practices. By stripping away these assumptions, this book uncovers how representations of performance in Old English poetry are associated with poetic production and cultural concerns. Through an examination of Beowulf, diverse wisdom poems, and the “artist” poems Deor and Widsith, it argues that poets constructed an imaginary domain of “poetic performance”, which negotiated tensions between early medieval creativity and core social beliefs. It also shows how poetry’s relationship with oral methods of composition and circulation weakened in later medieval poetry as both language and poetic form altered. The book explores what depictions of performance can tell us about early medieval conceptualisations, processes, and practices in the poetic imagination and in wider culture.

English Victorian Churches
Architecture, Faith, & Revival
by James Stevens Curl

Often exquisitely designed and furnished, Victorian churches reflected the intense interest in religion in England at the time. Their architectural qualities reflected aspirations of clergy, laity, and individual benefactors. The finest were the results of passionate commitment to an architecture soundly based on scholarly studies known as Ecclesiology. James Stevens Curl describes many churches of quality, generously illustrated with specially commissioned colour photos, and explains the background of turbulent theological and liturgical debate which energised the development of architecture and design during the reign of Victoria.

Written with enthusiasm, insights, and meticulous suggestions for the pianist who would practice and perform his music, this is a study of all the piano works by the renowned American composer Samuel Adler, from concertos and other virtuosic concert works to short pieces for students. Each discussion includes an appreciation of the work’s primary features and a “lesson” on practicing and interpreting it. Teachers will especially appreciate the appendix, which grades each piece by its approximate technical difficulty.

New Perspectives on Handel’s Music
Essays in Honour of Donald Burrows
Edited by David Vickers

As soon as Handel composed, rehearsed and performed his music, it was already a subject of fascination for authors of reports, polemics and critical appraisals. The continuous yet evolving culture of Handelian studies is represented here in its present state by twenty essays written by several generations of scholars who are inspired by the research, publications and teaching of Donald Burrows.

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