The Music of Hugh Wood provides the first ever in-depth study of this well-known, yet only briefly documented composer. Over the years, Wood (b. 1932) has produced a sizeable oeuvre that explores the established genres of symphony, concerto, and quartet on the one hand, and songs and choruses on the other. Underpinned by an awareness of recent philosophical, theoretical and analytical concepts, Dr Edward Venn highlights both the technical basis of Wood's music and the expressive force of his work. In doing so, a picture emerges of Wood as an artist of considerable merit and power. The eclectic blend of national and international influences in the music of Hugh Wood combine to create an individual and distinctive musical language all his own. The book provides an overview of Wood's style, focussing on his engagement with modernism and the melodic, rhythmic, harmonic and formal characteristics of his musical language. From here a more detailed consideration of Wood's development as a composer is advanced, in which his technical development is illustrated alongside an exploration of various aspects of musical meaning embodied in his works. In the process, numerous analytical strategies ranging from formalist to narrative structures are utilized, demonstrating the fecundity and expressivity of Wood's music.
'The appearance of the first book-length study of this composer is very welcome, and all the more so as it has fulfilled its brief in such an elegant and discerning style…This is a very informative and insightful study of a much admired body of music …I am sure there will be many devotees of Wood who will be delighted to read it, as I was.' Jeremy Thurlow, Robinson College, University of Cambridge ’… diligent, sympathetic and solid study.' Times Literary Supplement ’… well-presented book… it is a promising debut alongside which future studies of Hugh Wood's music will certainly have to be judged, and consistently thorough, informative, useful, and lively… its narrative descriptions and analytical interpretations of the music deserve to become standard fare for programme-notes for future performances… Venn's neatly and carefully tailored prose consistently succeeds in conjuring up images and impressions of the music that bring it to life and reflect upon its expressive style clearly and efficiently, and that make you wish very much to hear more of it.’ Tempo ’The appearance of a book-length study of the composer is … to be welcomed enthusiastically … Indeed, The Music of Hugh Wood represents a significant step forward in our understanding of the composer’s music. The opening three chapters are contextual, and for anyone coming to this music for the first time, they are unquestionably essential reading … Read in conjunction with the composer’s own selected writings, Staking Out the Territory, The Music of Hugh Wood is crucial reading for devotees of Wood’s music and for those interested more widely in contemporary British music.’ Music and Letters ’Venn’s study of Wood is doubly useful, documenting the details of his music, and also positioning him within British musical culture. … It raises questions about the music of the last sixty years that are relevant and central to the understanding of music by a diverse collection
Contents: Preface; Early years; Style (I): melody and harmony; Style (II): rhythm and form; From the 4 Logue Songs to Scenes from Comus: 1959-1965; More than one homage: 1966-1971; 'Wir Wandeln durch des Tones Macht': 1971-1982; After the symphony: 1982-1989; 'Many splendoured things': 1991-1997; Recent years; Generic list of works; Chronological list of works; Discography; Personalia; Bibliography; Indexes.