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    Benjamin Britten’s absorption of and contribution to the Lied tradition

    Higgins, Paul (2008) Benjamin Britten’s absorption of and contribution to the Lied tradition. Maynooth Musicology: Postgraduate Journal, 1. pp. 140-153.

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    Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) grew up in a musical household. His mother was a keen amateur singer who was active in the local Choral Society and also encouraged the family’s musical entertainment of guests. In his contribution to Mitchell and Keller’s 1952 book, Peter Pears lists the repertory performed in the Britten household; prominent among this repertoire are the songs of Schubert, Schumann and Brahms and of lesser significance some lighter weight songs of Arthur Sullivan, ballads of Liza Lehmann and others, and some few folk songs,1 thus highlighting the relative importance of German Lieder as a formative influence on this young composer. From an early age Britten’s role in this musical household was to provide the piano accompaniment for his mother’s voice, who performed her son’s early settings; this formative experience of writing for and accompanying high voice was to become a significant and permanent of Britten’s vocal writing style. This article seeks to identify and critically assess the significance of art song to Britten’s compositional achievements; while addressing specifically the genres of solo art song with instrumental accompaniment and orchestral song, it excludes the consideration of Britten’s vocal duets, trios and dramatic works. This selection reflects the fact that it is in these two genres that Britten approaches most directly the origins of the German art song tradition.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Benjamin Britten; absorption; contribution; Lied tradition; Maynooth Musicology;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Music
    Item ID: 9461
    Depositing User: IR Editor
    Date Deposited: 09 May 2018 11:17
    Journal or Publication Title: Maynooth Musicology: Postgraduate Journal
    Publisher: Maynooth Musicology
    Refereed: Yes

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