Britten and the Far East

June 1998
9 black and white, 19 line illustrations
299 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Aldeburgh Studies in Music
ISBN: 9780851158303
Format: Paperback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Britten and the Far East

Asian Influences in the Music of Benjamin Britten

Mervyn Cooke

Investigation into the influence of Eastern music on Britten's composition.
Benjamin Britten's interest in the musical traditions of the Far East had a far-reaching influence on his compositional style; this book is the first to investigate the highly original cross-cultural synthesis he was able to achieve through the use of material borrowed from Balinese, Japanese and Indian music. Britten's visit to Indonesia and Japan in 1955-6 is reconstructed from archival sources, and shown to have had a profound impact on his subsequent work: the techniques of Balinese gamelan music were used in the ballet The Prince of the Pagodas (1957), and then became an essential feature of Britten's compositional style, at their most potent in Death in Venice(1973). The No drama and Gagaku court music of Japan were the inspiration for the trilogy of church parables Britten composed in the 1960s. The precise nature of these influences is discussed; Britten's sporadic borrowings from Indian music are also fully analysed. There is a survey of critical responses to Britten's cross-cultural experiments.

Dr MERVYN COOKE lectures in music at the University of Nottingham.

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For anyone wanting to get to grips with Britten's music and his eclectic compositional style - crucial reading. MUSIC AND LETTERS
Fascinating and persuasive blend of documentary and critical study. MUSICAL TIMES
An intelligent and detailed study. THE JAPAN SOCIETY

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