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The New Grove Twentieth-Century English Masters: Elgar, Delius, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Walton, Tippett, Britten (Composer Biography Series) Paperback – Sep 1986

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Paperback, Sep 1986

Product details

  • Paperback: 323 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc (Sept. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393303519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393303513
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,925,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure this kind of book will survive the internet age. In his preface, Stanley Sadie writes that the texts presented here originated as dictionary articles and are therefore designed for east reference and are concerned more with facts than opinions. Over time, I envisage people are more likely to access Wikipedia than dictionaries for the kind of information presented here, which is a shame since the breadth of erudition displayed and the amount of detail provided is far higher than one would find on such a website.

This is a review of the 1986 paperback edition. Its entries cover Elgar (65 pages), Delius (25), Vaughan Williams (45), Holst (26), Walton (22), Tippett (35), and Britten (57). Is there anyone missing? Well, if a new edition was planned today we might expect the likes of Peter Maxwell Davies and John Tavener to also have entries. The entries consist of a biographical-cum-musicological essay, followed by a list of each composer's works (usefully indexed to the relevant pages of the essay) and a bibliography.

Diana McVeigh's essay on Elgar concludes that, "Elgar's voice is individual enough to be instantly recognizable ... He was not an innovator ... [but] his work remains a great English summation of the European tradition." Interestingly, she declares the third symphony "cannot be completed from the remaining sketches", which is what Anthony Payne succeeded in doing a few years' later.

Anthony Payne himself contributes the essay on Delius, remarking how the composer "grew intensely aware of the transience of things." Harmony for Delius is as, if not more important than melody, evinced by "Delius's remarkable ability to prolong a sensuous moment by purely harmonic means.
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