Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Metric Experiments in Benjamin Britten's Vocal Music: 1943-1945
by Duncan, Stuart Paul, Ph.D., Yale University, 2017, 198; 10633242
Abstract (Summary)

1942 was a pivotal juncture in Benjamin Britten's career. Originally, he had planned to emigrate to the United States of America, but after staying a few years, he unexpectedly returned to England in 1942. Upon leaving America's shores, his compositional scores and sketches were confiscated by US Customs. This confiscation, on the one hand, disrupted a smooth transition back to the United Kingdom, but on the other, presented the opportunity for a fresh compositional start. In the years directly following his return, 1943 to 1945, Britten's vocal music is full of metric complexity, suggesting a captivation with metric experimentation. The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard (1943), Festival Te Hein. (1944), the Holy Sonnets of John Donne (1945), and Peter Grimes (1945), diverse in their musical construction and distinct in the types of texts set, share a central compositional concern: the employment of sustained metric conflict as a means of emphasizing structural junctures or poetic ideas. This dissertation presents an overview of metric and hypermetric displacement and grouping conflicts, demonstrating how Britten establishes, sustains, and problematizes meter for expressive and text-interpretative purposes. The methodology employed here draws upon developments in metric theory over the past thirty years, and builds upon analyses that foreground cognitive, performative, and spatial representation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McCreless, Patrick, Cohn, Richard
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Music education
Keywords: 20th century music, Britten, Benjamin, England, Meter, Metric theory, Music theory, Rhythm, Vocal music
Publication Number: 10633242
ISBN: 978-0-355-10534-6
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