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Billy Budd, based on Herman Melville's nautical allegory, is one of Britten's most challenging operas. This comprehensive guide considers the work from both literary and musical viewpoints. Melville's novella is discussed, as is the interpretation given to the novella by the librettists E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier. A detailed synopsis guides the reader through the musical and dramatic action of the opera and in a chapter devoted to the music, Britten's distinctive technique of tonal symbolism is analyzed to demonstrate the effectiveness of his musical response to the dramatic suggestions of Melville's story. The most important critical writings on Billy Budd are represented by an expanded version of Donald Mitchell's 1979 notebook on the opera. A final chapter charts the opera's stage history and fluctuating critical reception.
The vibrant world of jazz may be viewed from many perspectives, from social and cultural history to music analysis, from economics to ethnography. It is challenging and exciting territory. This volume of nineteen specially commissioned essays provides informed and accessible guidance to the challenge, offering the reader a range of expert views on the character, history and uses of jazz. The book starts by considering what kind of identity jazz has acquired and how, and goes on to discuss the crucial practices that define jazz and to examine some specific moments of historical change and some important issues for jazz study. Finally, it looks at a set of perspectives that illustrate different 'takes' on jazz - ways in which jazz has been valued and represented.
This Companion celebrates the extraordinary riches of the twentieth-century operatic repertoire in a collection of specially commissioned essays written by a distinguished team of academics, critics and practitioners. Beginning with a discussion of the century's vital inheritance from late-romantic operatic traditions in Germany and Italy, the text embraces fresh investigations into various aspects of the genre in the modern age, with a comprehensive coverage of the work of individual composers from Debussy and Schoenberg to John Adams and Harrison Birtwistle. Traditional stylistic categorizations (including symbolism, expressionism, neo-classicism and minimalism) are reassessed from new critical perspectives, and the distinctive operatic traditions of Continental and Eastern Europe, Russia and the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and United States are subjected to fresh scrutiny. The volume includes essays devoted to avant-garde music theatre, operettas and musicals, filmed opera, and ends with a discussion of the position of the genre in today's cultural marketplace.
This book provides a comprehensive and lively introduction to the major trends in film scoring from the silent era to the present day, focussing not only on dominant Hollywood practices but also offering an international perspective by including case studies of the national cinemas of the UK, France, India, Italy, Japan and the early Soviet Union. The book balances wide-ranging overviews of film genres, modes of production and critical reception with detailed non-technical descriptions of the interaction between image track and soundtrack in representative individual films. In addition to the central focus on narrative cinema, separate sections are also devoted to music in documentary and animated films, film musicals and the uses of popular and classical music in the cinema. The author analyses the varying technological and aesthetic issues that have shaped the history of film music, and concludes with an account of the modern film composer's working practices.