The Pre-history of ‘The Midsummer Marriage’: Narratives and Speculations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Pre-history of ‘The Midsummer Marriage’

Narratives and Speculations, 1st Edition

By Roger Savage


151 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367243166
pub: 2019-07-24
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The Pre-History of ‘The Midsummer Marriage’ examines the early collaborative phase (1943 to 1946) in the making of Michael Tippett’s first mature opera and charts the developments that grew out of that phase.

Drawing on a fascinating group of Tippett’s sketchbooks and a lengthy sequence of his letters to Douglas Newton, it helps construct a narrative of the Tippett-Newton collaboration as well as providing insights into the devising of the opera’s plot, both in that early phase and in the phase from 1946 onward when Tippett went on with the project alone.

The book asks: Who was Newton and what kind of collaboration did he have—then cease to have— with Tippett?

What were the origins of and shaping factors behind the original scenario and libretto-drafts?

How far did the narrative and controlling concepts of Midsummer Marriage in its final form tally with—and how far move away from—those that had been set up in the years of the two men’s collaboration: the ‘pre-historic’ years?

The book will be of particular interest to scholars and researchers in opera studies and twentieth-century music.

Table of Contents



Preface and Acknowledgements

I. Michael Tippett and Douglas Newton to 1943

II. Plotting a Masque: ‘Refashioning the Traditions’

III. Collaboration on the Masque, 1943-44

IV. The Act II Scenario, circa February 1944

V. Friends’ Reactions and Progress of the Collaboration, 1944-46

VI. New Directions (Newton solus)

VII. Fresh Beginnings and Continuities (Tippett solus)

VIII. Echoes and Foreshadowings

IX. Afterlives

Appendix I. Four poems by Douglas Newton

II. Newton, Bibliography to 1956

III. Tippett, the British Library Sketchbooks

Select Bibliography

Index of Names

About the Author/Editor

Roger Savage is an Honorary Fellow in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He is also the author of Masques, Mayings and Music-Dramas: Vaughan Williams and the Early Twentieth-Century Stage (2014).

About the Series

Royal Musical Association Monographs

Royal Musical Association Monographs

This series was originally supported by funds made available to the Royal Musical Association from the estate of Thurston Dart. Its purpose is to provide a medium for specialized investigations of a topic, concept or repertory - studies of a kind that would not normally be feasible for commercial publishers and that would be too long for most periodicals.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Opera
MUSIC / Individual Composer & Musician