King Arthur in Music

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Richard W. Barber
DS Brewer, 2002 - Music - 190 pages
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King Arthur in Music is the first book to be devoted to the subject. The range of musical material is too wide for a single author to tackle satisfactorily, and the nine contributors to this volume are experts in the very different fields involved. The first essay, by Robert Shay, deals with the late seventeenth century semi-opera King Arthur, while the final essay by William Everitt looks at the appearances of Arthur on stage and screen and the scores that have accompanied these. Between these two extremes, the main body of the book deals largely with opera as we now understand it, from Wagner's 'Tristan' and 'Parsifal' to Harrison Birtwistle's 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'. Some works have never been performed, such as Hubert Parry's 'Guenever' and Rutland Boughton's Arthurian cycle, while others have only recently been staged or revived, such as Isaac Albeníz's 'Merlin' and Ernest Chausson's 'Le roi Artus', both striking post-Wagnerian works in very different styles: 'Merlin', for instance, begins with a passage based on Gregorian chant. The range of music is therefore wider than one might at first suspect, and other aspects of Arthurian music are brought out in the introduction, which is a general survey of the field, and in Jerome V.Reel's comprehensive listing of Arthurian musical items which is printed as an appendix. Contributors ROBERT ADLINGTON, RICHARD BARBER, WALTER A. CLARK, JEREMY DIBBLE, WILLIAM A. EVERITT, TONY HUNT, MICHAEL HURD, JEROME V. REEL, NIGEL SIMEONE, ROBERT SHAY, DEREK WATSON.
 

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Contents

Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal
23
Isaac Albénizs Opera Merlin
51
Rutland Boughtons Arthurian Cycle
91
the First Performance of Messiaens
105
Harrison Birtwistles Reception of Sir Gawain and the
127
King Arthur in Popular Musical Theatre and Film
145
A Listing of Arthurian Music
161
Index
189
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Richard Barber has published widely on medieval history. The Knight and Chivalry won the 1971 Somerset Maugham Award. His other major interest is historical biography with books on Henry Plantagenet and the Black Prince. His most recent book is Edward III and the Triumph of England: The Battle of Crécy and the Order of the Garter.

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