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Title: An analysis and sketch study of the early instrumental music of Sir Harrison Birtwistle (c. 1957-77)
Author: Beard, David Jason
ISNI:       0000 0001 1040 9641
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2000
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Sir Harrison Birtwistle is one of Britain's leading contemporary composers. His intellectually challenging music has so far proved difficult to analyse. This thesis aims to account for the significance of Birtwistle's earliest published works, commenting on existing analyses, developing new approaches and, where available, drawing on the composer's own sketches, drafts and other manuscripts, reflecting my belief that the early music represents a clear blueprint for later works. The thesis is in two parts. The first consists of chapters 1 and 2, which deal with works for which no sketch material survives. The emphasis is initially on accounting for Birtwistle within a broader historical context, as well as developing new ways of investigating the works based on links with other contemporary artists and musicians, and interests the composer declared. This part also includes extended discussion of a work thought to have been lost, but which is in fact stored in the Birtwistle Sammlung at the Paul Sacher Foundation, Basel. Whilst the chapters incorporate theoretical tools, works are treated on their own terms, and analytical methods are developed which respond to apparently new concerns, rather than subsume each work within an over-arching theoretical model. However, a number of themes are developed at this stage and carried throughout the thesis: especially, the use of tone rows, associative pitch projection, motivic permutation and forms of textural association. The second part, represented by chapters 3, 4 and 5, covers works for which a substantial amount of manuscript material exists, stored at the Sacher Foundation. Whilst earlier themes are continued, new issues relating to time and evocations of the pastoral are introduced in response to developments in the 1970s. Another theme developed through these chapters concerns problems surrounding the status of sketch material, its value to analysis, and the extent to which the sketches make different analytical demands from the scores.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Contemporary