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Chapter 31 - Pears as Illuminator, Interpreter, and Inspiration

from Part IV - Wordsmiths, Designers, and Performers

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

Pears was innately skilled at the creation of new song works, making him the ideal collaborator for composers and clearly an inspirational artist for whom to write. Yet there was something more. With Pears there was the concomitant presence of all of the particles inherent to the creative process. He was a prolific reader and therefore the ideal text interpreter, with an extensive range of colours and dynamics that were technically available in his voice paired with his seemingly boundless artistic instincts. This tenor’s voice was not universally admired. Yet Pears’s recordings of Britten set the gold standard against which all successive generations of Britten interpreters would need to measure up – defining if not implying an authoritative version for phrasing, dynamics, vocal colours, textual inflection, and tempi, at the very least. This chapter explores the first performances of Pears’s association with dozens of living composers, works for unaccompanied tenor, and combinations of tenor and piano, guitar, harp, and chamber orchestra. The chapter concludes with a table of all of the tenor’s premieres.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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