King Arthur in Music

King Arthur in Music

Edited by Richard Barber





A survey of the influence of the Arthurian legends on musical works.
King Arthur in Music is the first book to be devoted to the subject. The range of musical material is too wide for a single author to tackle satisfactorily, and the nine contributors to this volume are experts in the very different fields involved. The first essay, by Robert Shay, deals with the late seventeenth century semi-opera King Arthur, while the final essay by William Everitt looks at the appearances of Arthur on stage and screen and the scores that have accompanied these. Between these two extremes, the main body of the book deals largely with opera as we now understand it, from Wagner's 'Tristan' and 'Parsifal' to Harrison Birtwistle's 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'. Some works have never been performed, such as Hubert Parry's 'Guenever' and Rutland Boughton's Arthurian cycle, while others have only recently been staged or revived, such as Isaac Albeníz's 'Merlin' and Ernest Chausson's 'Le roi Artus', both striking post-Wagnerian works in very different styles: 'Merlin', for instance, begins with a passage based on Gregorian chant. The range of music is therefore wider than one might at first suspect, and other aspects of Arthurian music are brought out in the introduction, which is a general survey of the field, and in Jerome V.Reel's comprehensive listing of Arthurian musical items which is printed as an appendix. Contributors ROBERT ADLINGTON, RICHARD BARBER, WALTER A. CLARK, JEREMY DIBBLE, WILLIAM A. EVERITT, TONY HUNT, MICHAEL HURD, JEROME V. REEL, NIGEL SIMEONE, ROBERT SHAY, DEREK WATSON.


December 2002
1 black and white illustrations
204 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Arthurian Studies
ISBN: 9780859917674
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BIC AV, 1D, 2AB, 3H, 4P
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Table of Contents

Dryden and Purcell's King Arthur: Legend and Politics on the Restoration Stage - Robert Shay
Wagner: Tristan and Isolde and Parsifal - Derek Watson
Parry's Guenever: Trauma and Catharsis - Jeremy Dibble
King Arthur and the Wagner Cult in Spain: Isaac Albéniz's Opera Merlin - Walter Clark
Ernest Chausson's Le Roi Arthus - Tony Hunt
Rutland Boughton's Arthurian Cycle - Michael Hurd
An Exotic Tristan in Boston: the first performance of Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie -
'Good lodging': Harrison Birtwistle's reception of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Robert Adlington
King Arthur in Popular Musical Theatre and Film - William A Everett
A Listing of Arthurian Music - Jerome V Reel


Nine authoritative essays... a very important book, a landmark for all future research in the area. ARTHURIANA This innovative collection adds a new dimension to Arthurian Studies. MEDIUM AEVUM

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