This highly acclaimed study of English song is now available as a one-volume paperback.
The book is the first detailed study of an unusually fruitful interrelationship between English music and English poetry. The period covered is known as the English Musical Renaissance and runs from the last years of the nineteenth century to the second world war. Stephen Banfield traces the late flowering of Romantic impulses in solo song during these years, surveying it from critical, analytical and historical angles. He plots the growth of an English stylistic sensibility in song in the decades leading up to the first world war, discusses in detail the plateau it reached between the wars (particularly in the 1920s), and shows how and why it declined as other musical concerns took the field.
Poets whose verse was set to music most frequently, including Housman, Hardy, de la Mare and Yeats, are treated at length, as are pre-eminent song composers such as Butterworth, Finzi, Gurney, Ireland, Quilter, Somervell, Stanford, Vaughan Williams and Warlock. There are chapters on the Georgian movement, the Celtic twilight, and the composers of the first world war. In all, more than 50 composers are discussed, and numerous individual songs, some as well known as 'Linden Lea' and 'Sea Fever' but also many others less easily accessible.
In the final section of the book, besides providing an extensive bibliography, Dr Banfield catalogues over 5,000 songs, giving dates of composition and publication and much other detail, listed by composer. The index refers the reader to these song lists by the names of the authors of the texts as well as by the names of their composers. This comprehensive survey willprove an invaluable reference guide to all students of the subject.
'... a major contribution towards an intelligent understanding of a vast and fascinating subject ... abounds in subtle insights ... Sensibility and English Song is, by any standards, a major achievement - an indispensable work of reference and revelation, as important to singers, concert promoters and (let us hope) record companies as it will be to scholars and all those interested in an amazingly rich seam of British musical genius.' Music & Letters 'This remarkable work will become as invaluable to teachers as to singers, composers, students, critics and all who delight in the art of song.' Music Teacher '... this study is unlikely to be surpassed in its ambitious comprehensiveness for a long while, and will remain a unique source of reference.' Classical Music