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The anthems of Herbert Howells (1892-1983)

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Title: The anthems of Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
Author(s): Wilson, Jeffrey Shawn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Temperley, Nicholas
Department / Program: Music
Discipline: Music
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: D.M.A.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Biography Fine Arts Music
Abstract: Herbert Howells's religious choral works are generally regarded as his primary contribution to the twentieth-century English music repertoire. According to Peter John Hodgson, Howells's most representative achievements are found among the numerous settings of the canticles for various ecclesiastical establishments, among a quantity of anthems and motets, and among the several large-scale works for chorus, soloists and orchestra'. While studies of his canticles and at least one large-scale choral work have recently been completed, there has been no comprehensive investigation of the anthems and motets. The present thesis is a detailed, historical and analytical study of Howells's anthems and motets.This study is primarily intended for choral directors who seek to expand their knowledge about Howells and his anthems. Early chapters include: a short biography based on current research; a consideration of the composer within the context of English music history, particularly the so-called English Musical Renaissance; and a survey of Howells's total compositional outgut, with special emphasis given to his choral music.Furthermore, an extensive, analytical investigation of Howells's anthems is presented. The author broadly defines the anthem as a choral composition, in English or Latin, with or without accompaniment, that may be sung as part of a Christian service. Both textual and musical matters are considered in the analysis of Howells's works. It was found that the composer typically employed liturgical, biblical and literary texts of high quality. Two primary textual tones--the elegiac and the ecstatic--emerge as predominant determinants of musical mood. Also discussed are elements of the 'Howells sound': particularly the composer's unique blending of tonality and modality; his adeptness at setting texts and creating musical mood; and his development of a very personal 'impressionistic polyphonic style' in which he skillfully manipulates both melodic and harmonic materials.The appendix consists of an outline of Howells's life within the context of contemporary English musical events and a catalogue which is particularly useful in assisting the conductor choose pieces appropriate to certain church services and concert programs. An extensive bibliography concludes the study.
Issue Date: 1996
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/19019
ISBN: 9780591199642
Rights Information: Copyright 1996 Wilson, Jeffrey Shawn
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9712482
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9712482
 

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