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Title: Benjamin Burrows 1891-1966 : life and music of the Leicester composer
Author: Daubney, Brian Blyth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 5156
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1987
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The original intention of this book was to produce an account of ninety-three songs by the Leicester composer, Benjamin Burrows, written between 1927 and 1929. As work proceeded, it became clear that to consider the songs in isolation from the composer's life and other works would not be very informative to readers, since nothing had been previously written about him save for an article of mine in Luciadi, the student magazine of University College, Leicester, in May 1950. Moreover, though the songs represent Burrows's greatest creative achievement, many other compositions of his deserve attention. The book was, therefore, expanded to survey the composer's life and total output. It is unfortunate that this book was not started until twelve years after Burrows's death. Many of his contemporaries and close associates had then died and their memories with them. Written material, other than the composer's MSS was scarce: much of it, including his highly-organised files of solutions for his pupils of examination questions set by the universities of Belfast, Durham and London and the British music schools, had been destroyed or dispersed when he died. The key figure involved in the series of ninety-three songs, Jane Corbett, née Vowles, died in 1973. Between February 1969 and October 1972, there was a constant correspondence between her and me, but, apart from occasional - and general - comments, nothing of great personal significance about her time as a student of Burrows. Her sudden death on 18 January 1973 occurred before my interest in Burrows had crystallised into a decision to write about him. If the picture of the man that emerges seems shadowy, that is mainly because of the uneventful nature of his life. There are the significant dates that mark any mortal's progress from birth to death but, uncommonly, the intervening years are singularly devoid of the kind of incident upon which biographers thrive. His adventures were of the mind and rarely communicated verbally to others: they emerge most vividly in his compositions, his occasional writings, his even more occasional water-colour miniatures and, in a large measure, in his mechanical inventions. In addition to the research and editing that went into the writing of this book, two offshoots are worthy of separate mention. There is in existence a compilation of the ninety-three Jane Vowles songs in photocopies of the twenty-one that were published and hand copies - and, subsequently computer-generated copies - of the rest. There are four On 27 February 1978 Secondly, a public lecture-recital (see Appendix III) was given in the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery and repeated in a modified form on 11 July 1978 at the University of Evansville, Indiana. The Leicester lecture was recorded by BBC Radio Leicester and subsequently relayed in three instalments. Subsequent developments have included further lectures on the composer and his music, publication of some of his music, and a book and article on his songs, and the issue of recordings of his music. These are described more fully in Chapter Six and listed in Appendix I. Acknowledgement is due to many correspondents who supplied memories of Burrows, especially to Harold Barton, Arthur Kirkby and William Lovelock whose written accounts were invaluable. The debt to Burrows's son, Benjamin H. Burrows, and to his sister, the late Grace Lee, for their time and active interest is considerable, as it is also to Geoffrey Corbett, Elsie Cox, Charles Goodger, Jack Griffin and Eric Jordan for MSS, photographs and written matter. Ben and Jack Griffin also undertook the exacting task of proof-reading the final draft of the original thesis for which I am extremely grateful. The support and encouragement of George Gray, a long-time friend of the composer, was unflagging during my research, and the advice of my erstwhile colleague, Ronald Reah, inestimable. Lastly, my sincere thanks go to Trevor Hold, whose vast knowledge of and mutual interest in the period around which my writing centred, were a happy and fruitful inspiration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available