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Roger Quilter 1877-1953: his life, times and music

Langfield, Valerie Gail (2004)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Roger Quilter is best known for his elegant and refined songs, which are rooted in late Victorian parlour-song, and are staples of the English artsong repertoire. This thesis has two aims: to explore his output beyond the canon of about twenty-five songs which overshadows the rest of his work; and to counter an often disparaging view of his music, arising from his refusal to work in large-scale forms, the polished assurance of his work, and his education other than in an English musical establishment. These aims are achieved by presenting biographical material, which places him in his social and musical context as a wealthy, upper-class, Edwardian gentleman composer, followed by an examination of his music. Various aspects of his solo and partsong œuvre are considered; his incidental music for the play Where the Rainbow Ends and its contribution to the play’s West End success are examined fully; a chapter on his light opera sheds light on his collaborative working practices, and traces the development of the several versions of the work; and his piano, instrumental and orchestral works are discussed within their function as light music. The thesis concludes that, far from being merely a composer of drawing-room songs, Quilter shows a considerable quality across the breadth of his music.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Banfield, Stephen (1951-)
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
Department:Department of Music
Additional Information:

Further research related to this thesis is available at and published in
Langfield, Valerie
Roger Quilter, his life and music
(Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002) ISBN: 9780851158716

Keywords:Musical Renaissance; English song; Frankfurt Group; Percy Grainger; Cyril Scott; Balfour Gardiner; Norman O'Neill; British light music; fairy plays
Subjects:ML Literature of music
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:1354
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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