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Sept. 7, 2012
Dr. Stephen Town, professor of music at Northwest Missouri State University, is the author of a new book, titled “An Imperishable Heritage: British Choral Music from Parry to Dyson,” which surveys the choral-orchestral music of the English Musical Renaissance.
Published by United Kingdom-based Ashgate Publishing Company, the book examines selected works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford, Gerald Finzi, Edmund Rubbra and George Dyson. Town collates the substantial secondary literature on the composers with his own studies of their manuscripts to shed new light on the compositions. His close study of the sources allowed him to identify for the first time instances of similarity and imitation, continuities and connections among the works.
Town said he was inspired to begin the project after he was selected in 1993 as a recipient of the prestigious Ralph Vaughan Williams Research Fellowship, which is given to a North American scholar by the Carthusian Trust of England. Town lived in Charterhouse (Godalming, Surrey), the school Ralph Vaughan Williams attended as a boy, and traveled daily to the British Museum in London where he accessed Williams’ manuscripts. Since that time, he has returned almost annually to conduct archival research at the new British Library.
A major thrust of his book, Town said, is a comparison of the published and recorded musical works against their manuscripts and what the manuscripts reveal about the finished product. For more information or to order copies of the book, click here.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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