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Title: Benjamin Britten's liturgical music and its place in the Anglican Church music tradition
Author: Miller, Timothy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 5832
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
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This study presents a detailed analysis of the liturgical music of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). In addition to several pieces Britten wrote for the Anglican liturgy and one for the Roman Catholic Church, a number of other works, not originally composed for liturgical purpose, but which function well in a liturgical setting, are included, providing a substantial repertory which has hitherto received little critical commentary. Although not occupying a place of central importance in the composer’s musical output, it is argued that a detailed examination of this liturgical music is important to form a fuller understanding of Britten’s creative character; it casts additional light on the composer’s technical procedures (in particular his imaginative exploitation of tonal structure which embraced modality, free-tonality and twelve-tone ideas) and explores further Britten’s commitment to the idea of a composer serving society. The importance of church-going in Britten’s early life and the influence it exerted on his music for the church is considered. It is argued that ‘Tradition’ is a key concept in the music of the Anglican Church. The presentation of an adumbration of the Church of England’s history shows what the totems of this Tradition are and that they are clearly recognisable in the music of composers at the heart of it. It is shown that Britten both respected and fed off Tradition and that his liturgical music clearly relates to the Anglican Church Music Tradition in a specific way. This study concludes that Britten’s liturgical music can most intelligently be viewed in relation to a specific branch of the Tradition: the Parish Church Musical Tradition. It is a context that has not previously been clearly recognised in previous critical studies and this has therefore led, it is argued, to an insufficient understanding of its particular aesthetic characteristics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available