Edmund Rubbra: Symphonist

January 2008
1 black and white illustrations
256 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS020000, BIO004000

Edmund Rubbra: Symphonist

Leo Black

Leo Black, a pupil of Rubbra in the 1950s, presents a full-scale study of his symphonies (the first for fifteen years). A biographical sketch throws light on legends about the BBC and Rubbra; there are full programme notes on each symphony, with accounts of important non-symphonic works.
The music of Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986) has been unjustly neglected - arguably because its wide-ranging nature makes it difficult to categorise. He is perhaps best known as a symphonist; his eleven symphonies covered a period of musical and political upheaval [1934 - 1980], the first four reflecting the uneasy later 1930s, with a second global conflict no longer avoidable. The immediately-post-war ones document new emotional depths and his conversion, while the final symphonies show a man still in search of peace and reconciliation, overlooked by the world but certain he was on the right path.

Leo Black, a pupil of Rubbra at Oxford in the 1950s, here presents a sympathetic full-scale study of these works (the first for some fifteen years). A succinct biographical sketch throws light on legends about the BBC and Rubbra; there are full programme notes on each symphony, with shorter accounts of important non-symphonic works, in particular a 'triptych' of concertos from the 1950s and major liturgical pieces composed around the time of the Second Vatican Council, after Rubbra's conversion to Catholicism. He also deals with the vexed question of Rubbra's mysticism.

LEO BLACK is a former BBC chief producer for music and author of the highly-acclaimed Franz Schubert: Music and Belief [2003].

An e-book version of this title is available (9781846156311), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.
Keywords: Music

Table of Contents

Preface: Rubbra in the Third Millenium?
General Features
The Early Years
The First Four Symphonies and the War Years
The War Years and the Fifth Symphony
A Question of Mysticism I
The Post-War Years and the Sixth Symphony
A Question of Mysticism II
The Seventh Symphony
The Tide Turns: the Eigth Symphony
The Final Years and Last Three Symphonies


This handsomely produced volume can be read with profit by amateurs, connoisseurs, and scholars alike ...Thoughtful, erudite and compelling. A labor of love, it is also the brief of a skilled advocate; Rubbra's music, now lost in the twilight of musical limbo, fully merits such a committed redeemer. NOTES
The reader is treated to a wide-ranging discussion that is stylishly written and invitingly presented. MUSICAL TIMES
[An] excellent new biography. TLS
Such are [Black's] skill and insights that there are few works about which he does not have something penetrating to say. His discussion of individual works engages the interest of the lay reader in a way that eludes...most other writers on matters musical. He brings the music and the issues it raises alive...This is an important book that should be in the library of every self-respecting music lover. INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW [Robert Layton]

Also by Author

Related Titles