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Music and Sexuality in BrittenSelected Essays$
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Philip Brett and George Haggerty

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246096

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246096.001.0001

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Keeping the Straight Line Intact?

Keeping the Straight Line Intact?

Britten's Relation to Folksong, Purcell, and His English Predecessors

Chapter:
(p.154) Chapter Nine Keeping the Straight Line Intact?
Source:
Music and Sexuality in Britten
Author(s):

Philip Brett

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520246096.003.0010

This chapter seeks to identify the relation of folk music to nationalism, and specifically in relation to Britten's association with folksongs. It is important to ponder as wide a context as possible before taking a look at any single composer's attachment to or use of folk material in order to counter a modern tendency to view the entire phenomenon as noxious. Investigation reveals that, at a time of increased ethnocenticity, there emerges a tendency to harness national identity through music. Folklore, proven to be capable of subjectively inferring meanings and supporting ideologies on multiple plains, has inspired the creative instincts of a lot of composers. Britten's following of the pastoral composers in arranging folksongs, while rejecting their aesthetic gamut, disrupts linearity in terms of folk musical ideology in the British musical circle. This has inspired the efforts of many a research project in this field.

Keywords:   nationalism, folk material, folklore, ethnocentricity, pastoral composers, national identity

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