The rehabilitation of British music began with Hubert Parry and Charles Villiers Stanford. Ralph Vaughan Williams assisted in its emancipation from continental models, while Gerald Finzi, Edmund Rubbra and George Dyson flourished in its independence. Stephen Town's survey of Choral Music of the English Musical Renaissance is rooted in close examination of selected works from these composers. Town collates the substantial secondary literature on these composers, and brings to bear his own study of the autograph manuscripts. The latter form an unparalleled record of compositional process and shed new light on the compositions as they have come down to us in their published and recorded form. This close study of the sources allows Town to identify for the first time instances of similarity and imitation, continuities and connections between the works.
'Town [...] provides ample musical examples along with an excellent discussion of how the works compare and influenced each other. On top of its contribution to a general understanding of music history, this volume is sure to be of interest to conductors looking to explore a new repertoire... Recommended.' Choice '... a thorough and fascinating study that makes a valuable contribution to the period of interest.' Spirited, the Gazette of the English Music Festival 'Stephen Town [...] has written an incredibly thorough inspection of the English choral Renaissance of the early twentieth century through inspection of the genesis of works by Hubert Parry, Charles Stanford, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gerald Finzi, Edmund Rubbra, and George Dyson. Town's book is scholarly in the grandest manner, yet very readable. There are vast amounts of well-organized historical and analytical material here to discover in Town's narrative, and copious footnotes and direction to further reading... For anyone with an interest in English choral music, this is a must read... Stephen Town's new book is a truly great achievement and is highly recommended.' paulcarey440.blogspot 'This is a valuable study which I recommend wholeheartedly. I shall turn to it when any of the music discussed is up for performance. It is elegantly and clearly printed - and the proof-reading has been very thoroughly carried out giving it remarkable accuracy.' The Elgar Society Journal 'In his exquisitely detailed historical critique of the choral works of this study, Town probes connections of geography, training, and choral idiom among the composers and compositions. As a result, this book offers a unique understanding of a significant era of music history and choral significance.' Choral Journal 'From its opening preface to a valedictory afterword, Town’s volume positions these composers as figures within a singular landscape, joined by an array of other composers, scholars, and writers in an intricate web of