Sensibility and English Song: Critical Studies of the Early Twentieth Century

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This highly acclaimed study of English song is the first detailed account of an unusually fruitful interrelationship between English music and English poetry. The period covered is known as the English Musical Renaissance and runs from the last years of the nineteenth century to the Second World War. Stephen Banfield traces the late flowering of Romantic impulses in solo song during these years, surveying it from critical, analytical and historical angles. He plots the growth of the English stylistic sensibility in song in the decades leading up to the First World War, discusses in detail the plateau it reached between the wars (particularly in the 1920s), and shows how and why it declined as other musical concerns took the field. Poets whose verse was set to music most frequently, including Housman, Hardy, de la Mare and Yeats, are treated at length, as are pre-eminent song composers such as Butterworth, Finzi, Gurney, Ireland, Quilter, Somervell, Stanford, Vaughan Williams and Warlock. In all, more than fifty composers are discussed, and numerous individual songs. In the final section of the book, besides providing an extensive bibliography, Dr Banfield catalogues over 5,000 songs, giving dates of composition and publication and much other detail, listed by composer. This comprehensive survey will prove an invaluable reference guide to all students of the subject.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Banfield's achievement, a considerable one, is to have charted this half-century of song in greater detail than has ever been attempted." Albion

"Banfield's book is an outstanding and monumental achievement, which has few equals among recent writings on musical history. " Nicholas Temperley in Victorian Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521379441
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1989
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Explanation of bibliographical system and song lists; Abbreviations; Part I. The Growth of Sensibility: 1. The condition of English song in 1900; 2. Reticent Victorians: Elgar, Parry, Stanford and Wood; 3. Narrative song-cycle and dramatic scena: Somervell and Walford Davies; 4. Three post-Victorians: Hurlstone, Bridge and Vaughan Williams; 5. The Edwardian age (I); 6. The Edwardian age (II); 7. The First World War: its effect and its victims; Part II. The Lyrical Impulse Between the Wars: 8. Introduction: the uses of technique - style and personal symbolism in John Ireland; 9. The music of Ivor Gurney; 10. Georgian poetry and Georgian music; 11. Housman and the composers: documentation and evaluation; 12. The Celtic twilight; 13. Time and destiny: the Hardy songs of Gerald Finzi; 14. The uses and abuses of technique; Postscript: The pursuit of detachment; Appendices; Song lists; Bibliography; Index.

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