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Chapter 11 - Music Critics and the Press

from Part II - British Musical Life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2022

Vicki P Stroeher
Affiliation:
Marshall University, West Virginia
Justin Vickers
Affiliation:
Illinois State University
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Summary

This chapter explores Britten’s relationship with the critical press and various writers on music. The composer’s antipathy to critics is widely acknowledged, and his relationship with members of that circle could be contentious at times. In his article ‘Variations on a Critical Theme’, published in Opera in 1952, Britten addressed many of the concerns he had about music criticism in Britain and posited some remedies, but he only created further animosity in some quarters. Nevertheless, several music writers gained his confidence and respect, including Henry Boys, Donald Mitchell, and Hans Keller. Mitchell and Keller, in particular, attempted to elevate discourse about music in England and gave special attention to the works of Britten in their periodical Music Survey and in Boosey & Hawkes’s publication, Tempo, among other Britten-centred endeavours. The chapter focuses upon proponents and adversaries alike, including such disparate personalities as Eric Blom, Boys, Norman Demuth, Peter Evans, Frank S. Howes, Keller, Colin Mason, Mitchell, Eric Roseberry, Erwin Stein, Eric Walter White, and Virgil Thomson.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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