Encounters with British Composers

November 2015
39 black and white illustrations
527 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Encounters with British Composers

Andrew Palmer

eBook for Handhelds
Contemporary British composers talk about their music, with the emphasis on the aesthetic sensibilities and psychological processes behind composing rather than technique.
This book features interviews with leading and upcoming British composers who use the same raw materials but produce classical music that takes very different forms. Uniquely, Andrew Palmer approaches the sometimes baffling world of contemporary music from the point of view of the inquisitive, music-loving amateur rather than the professional critic or musicologist. Readers can eavesdrop on conversations in which composers are asked a number of questions about their professional lives and practices, with the emphasis on the aesthetic sensibilities and psychological processes behind composing rather than technique. Throughout, the book seeks to explore why composers write the kind of music they write, and what they want their music to do. Along the way, readers are confronted with an unspoken but equally important question: if some composers are writing music that the public doesn't want to engage with, who's to blame for that? Are composers out of touch with their public, or are we too lazy to give their music the attention it deserves?

ANDREW PALMER is a freelance writer and photographer. He is editor of Composing in Words: William Alwyn on His Art (Toccata Press, 2009), author of Divas... In Their Own Words (Vernon Press, 2000) and co-author of A Voice Reborn (Arcadia Books, 1999). Since 1998 he has been a corresponding editor of Strings magazine (USA).

Interviewees include: Julian Anderson, Simon Bainbridge, Sally Beamish, George Benjamin, Michael Berkeley, Judith Bingham, Harrison Birtwistle, Howard Blake, Gavin Bryars, Diana Burrell, Tom Coult, Gordon Crosse, Jonathan Dove, David Dubery, Michael Finnissy, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Alexander Goehr, Howard Goodall, Christopher Gunning, Morgan Hayes, Robin Holloway, Oliver Knussen, James MacMillan, Colin Matthews, David Matthews, Peter Maxwell Davies, John McCabe, Thea Musgrave, Roxanna Panufnik, Anthony Payne, Elis Pehkonen, Joseph Phibbs, Gabriel Prokofiev, John Rutter, Robert Saxton, John Tavener, Judith Weir, Debbie Wiseman, Christopher Wright

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782046417), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.
Keywords: Music

Table of Contents

Julian Anderson
Simon Bainbridge
Sally Beamish
George Benjamin
Michael Berkeley
Judith Bingham
Harrison Birtwistle
Howard Blake
Gavin Bryars
Diana Burrell
Tom Coult
Gordon Crosse
Jonathan Dove
David Dubery
Michael Finnissy
Cheryl Frances-Hoad
Alexander Goehr
Howard Goodall
Christopher Gunning
Morgan Hayes
Robin Holloway
Oliver Knussen
James MacMillan
Colin Matthews
David Matthews
Peter Maxwell Davies
John McCabe
Thea Musgrave
Roxanna Panufnik
Anthony Payne
Elis Pehkonen
Joseph Phibbs
Gabriel Prokofiev
John Rutter
Robert Saxton
John Tavener
Judith Weir
Debbie Wiseman
Christopher Wright


A welcome treat for music enthusiasts. CHOMBEC

This is not an ordinary Q&A compilation. Palmer provided the general questions beforehand and then elicited candid and personal information not likely to be found in other biographical resources, rendering the responses with clarity and sympathy. CHOICE

A fascinating collection of interviews with leading and upcoming composers from our shores, and includes conversations with numeraries such as Sir Harrison Birtwistle, the Matthews brothers, Jonathan Dove and Roxanna Panufnik. BIRMINGHAM POST

Dickinson is authoritative, lucid, persuasive, lively and sharply witty. . . . With fine illustrations and selected music examples, this is a richly satisfying book. CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE

Impressive. Paul Griffiths TLS

[A] compelling book BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

[A] compendious collection of interviews. THE SUNDAY TIMES

Also by Author

Related Titles