England Resounding - Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten and the English Musical Renaissance
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The spectacular revival of serious music in England is a chief feature of the history of British culture from the turn of the twentieth century and after. For some two centuries the art form had stagnated in England, which was referred to, notoriously, by a German commentator as 'the land without music'. But then came a great renaissance.
In the three linked essays that make up this book, Keith Alldritt, the most recent biographer of Vaughan Williams, examines the several phases and genres of this revival. A number of composers including Gustav Holst, Arnold Bax and William Walton contributed to the renewal. But this book presents the renaissance as centrally a continuity of enterprise, sometimes of riposte, running from Elgar to Vaughan Williams and then to Benjamin Britten. There concern was with music at its most serious, though not unceasingly humourless.
All three explored music's frontier with philosophy. They also probed the psychological impact of the unprecedently violent and destructive century in which they practised their art. Going beyond musicological comment, England Resounding essays insights into the historical, geopolitical and personal events that elicited the major works of these three great composers.
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