Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) was Victorian Britain’s most celebrated and popular composer, whose music to this day reaches a wider audience than that of any of his contemporaries. Yet the comic operas on which Sullivan’s reputation is chiefly based have been consistently belittled or ignored by the British musicological establishment, while his serious works have until recently remained virtually unknown. The time is thus long overdue for scholarly re-engagement with Sullivan. The present book offers a new appraisal of the music of this most notable nineteenth-century British composer, combining close analytical attention to his music with critical consideration of the wider aesthetic and social context to his work. Focusing on key pieces in all the major genres in which Sullivan composed, it includes accounts of his most important serious works – the music to The Tempest, the ‘Irish’ Symphony, The Golden Legend, Ivanhoe – alongside detailed examination of the celebrated comic operas created with W.S. Gilbert to present a balanced portrayal of Sullivan’s musical achievement.
Table of Contents
1. Incidental Music, Re-enchanted Isle: Sullivan’s music to The Tempest 2. Orchestral Music, Sullivan as Instrumental Composer: The Symphony & Orchestral Music 3. Song, Sullivan, The Window, and the English Song Cycle 4. Chamber Music, Domestic Day-Dreams: Sullivan’s Piano & Instrumental Music 5. Comic Opera, Musical Design and Dramaturgy in the Savoy Operas 6. Cantata, Shining through the Ages: Scenes from The Golden Legend 7. Grand Opera, On History and National Identity: Sullivan, Scott, and Ivanhoe 8. Choral & Liturgical Music, Aspects of Sullivan’s religious style in the Te Deums
Benedict Taylor is Lecturer in Music and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Mendelssohn, Time and Memory: The Romantic Conception of Cyclic Form (2011) and The Melody of Time: Music and Temporality in the Romantic Era (2016).