Rhapsody in the Organ Works of Herbert Howells: An Examination of Rhapsody-Based Organ Works Both With and Without Text Associations and a Look at the Expressive Effects Implied by the Texts
AuthorGrice, Donald James
Committee ChairDecker, Pamela
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEnglish composer Herbert Howells (1892-1983) developed a highly personal style that easily identifies his music. While other composers in the twentieth century sought novel means of expression including serialism, aleatoric techniques, and electronic music, Howells endeavored to find new things to say using traditional methods of composition. His reputation now rests with his contributions to choral and organ literature, but initially he was known as a composer of songs and chamber music.Early in his career, Howells exhibited an interest in rhapsody and many of his organ works utilize the procedure. Typically, the pieces begin and end quietly, building to a climax in the central section brought about by an increase in tempo, dynamics, and density of texture. For eight of thirteen rhapsody-based works, Howells has assigned a text association: in each case, a verse from Psalms. The other five rhapsody-based works bear no text association.By comparing the compositional traits and style characteristics of the rhapsody-based works both with and without text associations, the study will show rhapsody procedure to be used in essentially the same manner throughout Howells's output. His compositional techniques including harmonic language, use of arch form, signature motives, and thematic transformation remain consistent. The study will then examine the pieces with text associations to provide possible links between the texts and the expressive effects of the musical gestures. These links can be used by the performer to inform interpretations of the music.