1st Edition

Spiritual Dimensions in the Music of Edmund Rubbra

By Lucinda Cradduck Copyright 2023
    296 Pages 104 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    296 Pages 104 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Edmund Rubbra’s music has given him a reputation as a ‘spiritual’ composer, who had an interest in Eastern thought, and a mid-life conversion to Roman Catholicism. This book takes a wide and detailed view of ‘spiritual’ dimensions or strands that were important in his life, positioning them both biographically and within the context of contemporaneous English culture. It proceeds to interpret through detailed analysis the ways these spiritual aspects are reflected in specific compositions.

    Thematical treatment of these spiritual issues, touching on Theosophy, dance, Eastern religions and thought, nature, the evolutionary theory of Teilhard de Chardin and the Christ figure, presents a multi-faceted view of Rubbra’s life and music. Its contribution to a scholarly re-evaluation of his place within twentieth-century British music and culture engages and meshes with several areas of current scholarly research in the arts and humanities, including academic interest in Theosophy, modernism and the arts, experimental dance and the Indian cultural renaissance and East–West musical interactions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It also adds to a burgeoning body of writings on music and spirituality, fuelled by the popularity of later twentieth-century and contemporary composers who make more overt spiritual references in their music.

    1. ‘The natural product of a religious nature’: introducing spirituality and Rubbra’s music

    2. ‘Point of departure’: the enduring influence of Theosophy on Rubbra’s work

    3. Body, mind and spirit: Rubbra’s involvement with dance

    4. Looking East

    5. ‘Pan is Playing’: Nature mysticism in Rubbra’s Music

    6. Rubbra’s homage to Teilhard de Chardin

    7. From ‘Dark Night’ to ‘Resurrection’: The figure of Christ in Rubbra’s music

    8. ‘Rather a peculiar spiritual make-up’?

    References and bibliography


    Lucinda Cradduck, now retired, was for nearly thirty years an Associate Lecturer in music with the Open University.