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Title: The sound of the English picturesque in the late eighteenth century : native vocal music and Haydn's The Seasons
Author: Groves, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 3253
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2011
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In eighteenth-century England, the art-forms of painting, poetry and gardening were often collectively labelled, the ‘sister arts’. The increasing interest taken in the apprehension and appraisal of scenes of English landscape by artists in these fields, alongside an emerging taste for nature ‘tourism’, gave rise to the term, the ‘picturesque movement’. English music was seldom considered as belonging to this ‘sisterhood’ or discussed as a medium for conveying artistic expressions of national scenic beauty. When the picturesque was discussed alongside music it was adopted as an analogy to explain the tactics of novelty and surprise deployed by contemporaneous German composers of instrumental music; these ‘plays’ with regularity and expectation were felt to be similar to the techniques of landscape gardeners who had studied and adopted the elements of surprise and irregularity observed in picturesque ‘beauty spots’. Recent musicological references to the picturesque have also preferred to employ it in this way in order to problematize the subversion of formal characteristics in the fantasias and unconventional symphonies by German composers. This thesis addresses the silent aporia in these discourses – namely the apparent absence of any participation in the picturesque by English composers, natives of the country most associated with the picturesque sensibility. Revealing the connections between the veneration of national landscape and eighteenth-century English vocal music, it is the ‘pictorialisms’ present in their texts, and their musical treatment, which are the focus of this project. In the process, secular song, the glee and national theatre music are positioned as appropriate sites for expressions of a uniquely English, painterly engagement with national landscapes, making possible reclamation of a neglected repertoire through the lens of the picturesque. And at the end of the project, Haydn’s oratorio, The Seasons, is shown to be as much a part of the English picturesque expression as a product of the German Enlightenment.
Supervisor: Clery, Emma Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: M Music