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