Benjamin Britten's Nocturnal, Op. 70 for guitar: A novel approach to program music and variation structure
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis document is a study of Benjamin Britten's Nocturnal, Op. 70, a major work composed for solo guitar in 1963. It intends to demonstrate that the architecture used by the composer in this work is determined as much by its underlying program as well as to the variation structure used to convey it. This work is structured in eight sections: following an overview of the document in section one, section two consists of a brief biography of the composer as well as a general survey of his works, including those in which he makes use of the guitar. Sections three and four examine the works by Britten composed in variation form, as well as those which are related to the themes of night, death, sleep, and dreams. Sections five and six include a brief biography of Renaissance composer John Dowland, as well as a brief discussion of other Britten works inspired by the music of this composer. Benjamin Britten uses John Dowland's song "Come Heavy Sleep" as the basis for his Nocturnal, Op. 70. This song is examined and analyzed as part of section six. Section seven consists of a close examination of the Nocturnal, Op. 70. This examination looks closely at the most important harmonic, rhythmic, and formal elements of each variation and how they relate to the theme of Dowland. Finally, the conclusion sums up and reemphasizes the main thesis laid out in the introduction of this document.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Music and Dance