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Sensibility and English Song: Critical Studies of the Early Twentieth Century Paperback – March 2, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

Book Description

A discussion of more than 50 composers focuses on poets whose verse was set to music frequently, Housman, Hardy, De la Mare, Yeats, etc.. and song composers, Butterworth, Finzi, Gurney, Ireland, Quilter, Somervell and Vaughan Williams.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 27, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052137944X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521379441
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,234,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is possibly the single most all embracing and informative book on english art song and the major players in the vocal music of the English Musical Renaissance. The style is lucid and practical, and the bibliography, catalogue, and index are superb research tools. An unqualified recommendation.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Banfield's books on English song from the late 19th century to World War II are an aesthetic and scholarly triumph. With lucid prose and a trusty ear he situates this music within an historical context, but he is not merely a scholar -- his assessments of the high points of the composers' work have verve. He discusses the extent to which the English Music Renaissance was actually an English movement, free from Continental contamination.

However, the greatest accomplishment here is probably how these books reveal the inter-relationships between English song and major English poets whose words were set to music (Hardy, Yeats, Housman, others.)

It should be noted that this is a 2 Volume study.

Vol 1 begins with composers he dubs as "reticent Victorians" (Elgar, Parry, Stanford, and Wood) and examines, among other topics, song cycles, music before and during World War I, "the lyrical impulse between the wars," John Ireland, Celtic twilight, Somervell, the Thomas Hardy songs by Finzi.

Vol 2 involves "the pursuit of detachment" -- later Vaughan Williams, a "tincture" of Modernism, Britten, Ivor Gurney, "Escape Into Warlock," Bliss, Walton, and "Rethinking the Accompaniment." There are three Appendices including The Story of The Joyce Book. The books conclude with over 100 pages of Song Lists by composers, an 11 page Bibliography, and an Index.
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