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

The Pre-history of ‘The Midsummer Marriage’
Narratives and Speculations

ISBN 9780367787820
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
142 Pages

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Book Description

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 and provides insights into the devising of the opera’s plot, both in that early phase and in the phase from 1946 onwards 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 did they 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

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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).