Round the setting sun: the 1934 revision of Sir Arthur Somervell's Ode on the intimations of immortality

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2013-05-06
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Abstract
Sir Arthur Somervell's setting of Wordsworth's "Ode on the Intimations of Immortality" is regarded by critics as his most significant large-scale work; however, very little study has been given to the piece, and almost none to the extensive revisions made by the composer in 1934. This document situates the composer and the work in the historical context of the "English Musical Renaissance" of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and in the thematic trend towards elements of nostalgia in British music of this era. It also puts forth a more detailed theory than others previously offered for Somervell's interest in Wordsworth's poem, based on the composer's writings and speeches about early childhood music education, and offers an analysis of the 1934 version of the "Ode" in terms of its melodic, harmonic, thematic, and structural elements. Finally, it provides a newly created edition of the 1934 version of the "Ode" along with a critical apparatus for scholarly review. It is hoped that this document will both bring to light an interesting work by an under-recognized but significant composer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and will help to stimulate further interest among conductors and scholars in the composer himself.
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Somervell, Arthur Somervell, Intimations, Immortality, Ode, William Wordsworth, Wordsworth
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License terms: No license.
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D. Mus.