<< -- 2 -- Richard Krause SPEAKING UNIVERSALLY
Vaughan Williams is always typecast in the States as a 'pastoral'
composer. True, this is an element of his style, but is not exclusive. There
is nothing 'pastoral' in the 4th and 6th
symphonies. One quality I like about the nature element in British
music is the strong mysticism blended with it. This is most prominent in
composers like Bax, Holst, and Vaughan Williams.
A strong literary correlation is found in the novels of Thomas Hardy,
in which the mystical nature -- and fate -- play a crucial role
in human conflict. It is regrettable that these great stories have not been
set as operas. Delius' gorgeous views of nature have a sunnier aspect
but are often touched as well by the mystic.
Few have linked the transience of life with Nature so beautifully. Admittedly,
Delius was heavily influenced by outside traditions and lived most of his
life in France. In the modern operatic genre no one matches Britten for
his scope, humanity and ingenuity. He honoured the past traditions of British
music whilst speaking an international language.
Tippett was always proclaimed the more original, and obviously the more
intellectual of the two, but so much of his work remained in the intellect,
sincere but inaccessible to the layman.
The writer could continue with many examples of the diversity of British
composition, including Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. But in the interest
of brevity I now leave this short summary as it is.
Copyright © 2 January 2001
Richard Krause, Fort Worth, USA
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