The Music of Herbert Howells

October 2013
10 black and white, 144 line illustrations
382 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843838791
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS006000, BIO004000, MUS033000

The Music of Herbert Howells

Edited by Phillip A. Cooke, David Maw

The first large-scale study of the music of Herbert Howells, prodigiously gifted musician and favourite student of the notoriously hard-to-please Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.
Herbert Howells (1892-1983) was a prodigiously gifted musician and the favourite student of the notoriously hard-to-please Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. Throughout his long life, he was one of the country's most prominent composers, writing extensively in all genres except the symphony and opera. Yet today he is known mostly for his church music, and there is as yet relatively little serious study of his work. This book is the first large-scale study of Howells's music, affording both detailed consideration of individual works and a broad survey of general characteristics and issues.
Its coverage is wide-ranging, addressing all aspects of the composer's prolific output and probing many of the issues that it raises. The essays are gathered in five sections: Howells the Stylist examines one of the most striking aspect of the composer's music, its strongly characterised personal voice; Howells the Vocal Composer addresses both his well-known contribution to church music and his less familiar, but also important, contribution to the genre of solo song; Howells the Instrumental Composer shows that he was no less accomplished for his work in genres without words, for which, in fact, he first made his name; Howells the Modern considers the composer's rather overlooked contribution to the development of a modern voice for British music; and Howells in Mourning explores the important impact of his son's death on his life and work.
The composer that emerges from these studies is a complex figure: technically fluent but prone to revision and self-doubt; innovative but also conservative; a composer with an improvisational sense of flow who had a firm grasp of musical form; an exponent of British musical style who owed as much to continental influence as to his national heritage. This volume, comprising a collection of outstanding essays by established writers and emergent scholars, opens up the range of Howells's achievement to a wider audience, both professional and amateur.

PHILLIP COOKE is Lecturer in Composition at the University of Aberdeen.

DAVID MAW is Tutor and Research Fellow in Music at Oriel College, Oxford, holding Lectureships also at Christ Church, The Queen's and Trinity Colleges.

CONTRIBUTORS: Byron Adams, Paul Andrews, Graham Barber, Jonathan Clinch, Phillip A. Cooke, Jeremy Dibble, Lewis Foreman, Fabian Huss, David Maw, Diane Nolan Cooke, Lionel Pike, Paul Spicer, Jonathan White. Foreword by John Rutter.

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Keywords: Music

Table of Contents

Foreword - John Rutter
Introduction: Paradox of an establishment composer - David Maw
'In matters of art friendship should not count': Stanford and Howells - Jonathan White
Howells and Counterpoint - Lionel Pike
Window on a Complex Style: Six Pieces for Organ - Diane Nolan Cooke
'Hidden Artifice': Howells as Song-Writer - Jeremy Dibble
A 'Wholly New Chapter' in Service Music: Collegium Regale and the Gloucester Service - Phillip A. Cooke
Howells's Use of the Melisma: Word Setting in his Songs and Choral Music - Paul Spicer
'From Merry Eye to Paradise': the Early Orchestral Music of Herbert Howells - Lewis Foreman
Lost, Remembered, Mislaid, Re-written: A documentary study of In Gloucestershire - Paul Andrews
Style and Structure in the Oboe Sonata and Clarinet Sonata - Fabian Huss
'Tunes all the way'? Romantic Modernism and the Piano Concertos of Herbert Howells - Jonathan Clinch
'a "modern"...but a Britisher too': Howells and the Phantasy - David Maw
Austerity, Difficulty and Retrospection: The Late Style of Herbert Howells - Phillip A. Cooke
'In Modo Elegiaco': Howells and the Sarabande - Graham Barber
On Hermeneutics in Howells: Some Thoughts on Interpreting his Cello Concerto - Jonathan Clinch
Musical Cenotaph: Howells's Hymnus Paradisi and Sites of Mourning - Byron Adams
Appendix: Catalogue of the Works of Herbert Howells - Paul Andrews
Bibliography of Works Cited


A major advance towards a fuller and more balanced understanding of the composer. THE JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL MUSICAL ASSOCIATION

Superb and highly welcome addition to the literature on Howells ... goes a very considerable way towards demonstrating that this neglect is indeed highly unjust ... Unprecedented insight into both known and unfairly neglected corners of his oeuvre and should be keenly sought by anyone with an interest in his work and English music in the twentieth century. CHOMBEC News

Now we can all appreciate these works afresh, with the useful and pertinent insights afforded by this welcome volume. INTERNATIONAL PIANO

Eye opening dimensions ... fascinating ... Above all, this collection of essays emphasises purely and simply what a sophisticated and accomplished composer he was - headed up by a cameo of a foreword in which Howells enthusiast John Rutter expertly and engagingly sets the scene. CLASSICAL MUSIC, December 2013

The first large-scale and in-depth survey of his music ... Phillip A. Cooke and David Maw have curated and contributed to an excellent resource for anyone who wants to understand fully Howells's contribution to his musical landscape. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, February 2014

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