An Historical Perspective on the Choral Music of Herbert Howells as Found in the Anglican Canticle Settings Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for Saint Paul's Cathedral
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIntroduction: This study provides an historical perspective on the choral music of Herbert Howells using the Anglican canticle settings. The study also offers insights into stylistic traits, liturgical function, and the relationship between the canticle settings and the specific buildings for which they were intended, as exemplified in Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for Saint Paul's Cathedral. This study gives an overview of Howells' other choral music, formative influences on his compositional style and techniques, and presents insights into the man himself in a biographical sketch. Musical examples are quoted to support specific points made. The study is limited in scope to the choral music of Howells, although parallel references can be made in a study of the instrumental works. Three sources have been helpful in the research for the study. The Music of Herbert Howells,(1) a doctoral dissertation by Hodgson, surveys all of Howells' compositional areas, both vocal and instrumental. While such a study was long overdue and is admirable, it surveys the canticle settings only in an overview which is hardly due treatment for a major portion of the composer's output. Additional valuable data were obtained from Palmer's Herbert Howells --A Study, (2) a companion to the Howells works in the Novello catalog. While benefiting from the passage of eight additional years, this publication is brief and again in "overview" style. While touching on every facet of Howells' endeavor, the book lacks a bibliography or index, however an interesting interview serves as an "autobiographical note." The third source deserving special mention is The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary by Shepherd. (3) Providing detailed information and historical background on all facets of Anglican worship, this source contains the entire Book of Common Prayer. Numerous periodical articles have been written about Howells and his music since 1910. These have provided the author with valuable data regarding historical perspectives and stylistic elements. Notable are "Herbert Howells and the English Revival " (4) by Ottaway and "Herbert Howells, an Analysis of a Lasting Commitment to Music for Church and Cathedral " (5) by Rusciano.
Degree ProgramGraduate College