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Title: "In his master's steps he trod" : Alan Rawsthorne and Frederic Chopin : the piano ballades
Author: Khalaf, Abdullah
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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Alan Rawsthorne is a difficult to place as a composer. To many, his work seems conservative, even academic. Yet in 1937, Patrick Hadley recommended him to Cecil Gray as one of the most 'modern' composers of his generation. This thesis examines the question of Rawsthorne's attitude to contemporary composition, through the lens of his engagement with Chopin. I examine both Rawsthorne's well-known second Ballade (1967) and his comparatively unknown first Ballade (1929), comparing one with the other and analysing them for traces of Chopin's iconic works in the ballade form. I also draw on Rawsthorne's own analysis of the Chopin ballades. Rawsthorne's ballades are clearly a kind of homage to Chopin, insofar as they travel a similar narrative path. It seems, however, that a deeper similarity exists. Like Chopin - who wrote his ballades in a time of great political uncertainty - Rawsthorne turned to the ballade during periods of turbulence and unrest in the world around him (ie., the late 1920s and the late 1960s). In Rawsthorne's case, he wrote music about liberation, which seemed to take on a special meaning for him. In my reading, Rawsthorne's ambivalent approach to tonality and tonal structure, for instance, indicates a kind of troubled search for freedom; equality in a multi-culturalist community and a search for liberty of mankind. Thus, Rawsthorne appears to contribute to the ballade that Chopin created. Parakilas identified Chopin's ballade as a European genre, but Rawsthorne's efforts broaden this concept; he sought to create a ballade that could represent a greater diversity of cultures and people. Rawsthorne's re-articulation of Chopin's ballade and his attraction to its non-nationalist narrativity reflects his time and place. Unlike other musical modernists, he was able to make strikingly new music based firmly on past Romantic model.
Supervisor: Irvine, Thomas ; Norris, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: M Music