Composing in Words

December 2009
20 black and white illustrations
368 pages
25x15 cm
Musicians on Music
ISBN: 9780907689713
Format: Hardback
Toccata Press

Composing in Words

William Alwyn on his Art

William Alwyn

Edited by Andrew Palmer

An anthology of the writings of the English composer William Alwyn [1905-85].
The English composer William Alwyn was not only one of the most versatile creative figures of his age, writing music for the concert hall, recital room, operatic stage and film screen; he was also a virtuoso instrumentalist and conductor, the teacher of some of the most important composers of the succeeding generation, and the founder of a number of influential music committees such as the Composers' Guild of Great Britain. Alwyn was a gifted writer, too, alive to literature and art - especially pre-Raphaelite painting, on which he was an authority - as well as to music, and Composing in Words presents his most important writings: the autobiographical essay Winged Chariot; the diary, Ariel to Miranda, in which he chronicled the composition of his Third Symphony; an extract from Early Closing, Alwyn's reminiscences of his Northampton childhood; and essays on film music, and on other composers, among them Elgar, Bax and Puccini.


Certainly, Composing in Words offers much to the reader curious about the man and ideas behind the film and concert scores. Yet it is also to be recommended to those who want to know more about British music of this period, and about those who contributed to it. MUSIC AND LETTERS

Admirably presented and edited...there's certainly something for everyone, and the wide interests and erudition of William Alwyn are impressively displayed. GRAMOPHONE

A rewarding collection. CHOICE

The reader will be impressed by the presentation of this volume...the editor has not imposed himself on the text, but has allowed Alwyn's voice to come through both loud and clear. It is a book that is essential and will long be in demand as research in William Alwyn and exploration of his music continues over the coming years. MUSIC WEB INTERNATIONAL

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