Arthur Sullivan: A Musical Reappraisal, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Arthur Sullivan

A Musical Reappraisal, 1st Edition

By Benedict Taylor


232 pages | 44 B/W Illus.

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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

About the Author

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).

About the Series

Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain

So much of our ‘common’ knowledge of music in nineteenth-century Britain is bound up with received ideas. This series disputes their validity through research critically reassessing our perceptions of the period. Volumes in the series cover wide-ranging areas such as composers and composition; conductors, management and entrepreneurship; performers and performing; music criticism and the press; concert venues and promoters; church music and music theology; repertoire, genre, analysis and theory; instruments and technology; music education and pedagogy; publishing, printing and book selling; reception, historiography and biography; women and music; masculinity and music; gender and sexuality; domestic music-making; empire, orientalism and exoticism; and music in literature, poetry, theatre and dance.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / History & Criticism