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York Bowen's works for horn: A performer's guide and analysis

Faxon Graham House, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The English composer and pianist York Bowen (1884–1961) once held an enviable position as one of England's musical stars. By the age of twenty-one, he had already established himself, winning dozens of prizes both as a performer and composer. Bowen was still in his teens when he premiered his earliest symphonic works and piano concertos at the Promenade Concerts, conducted by Sir Henry Wood. Upon hearing the young Bowen, venerable French composer Camille Saint-Säens said, "This is the most remarkable of the young British composers." By the 1930's Bowen's popularity had already passed its zenith. Though critics continued to acknowledge his unfailing prowess and artistry at the keyboard, they considered Bowen's compositional style passé, giving him the nickname "the English Rachmaninov." ^ Today, 50 years after his death, Bowen's music is finally undergoing a revival and gaining exposure. Though Bowen was steadily prolific throughout his entire career, the majority of his works remain out of print, or have never been published. These makes it an exciting time for scholars and performers who are eager to research Bowen's undiscovered or forgotten works and, in turn, share them with the world. ^ Bowen's music holds a particular interest for certain instrumentalists. His piano repertoire is profuse and wide-ranging in both scope and level of difficulty. Violists have Bowen to thank for a strong body of work, due in large part to Bowen's friendship and musical partnership with the 20 th century's preeminent violist, Lionel Tertis. Bowen has also left a small but excellent body of music for horn, including works for horn and piano, chamber works and a brilliant concerto, most of which were written for Aubrey Brain and his son Dennis. ^ This document is intended as a compilation of information about Bowen's works for the horn, and a primer of sorts for the horn player, teacher, or any musician who wishes to know more about this under-served composer and gain insights into his elegant, well-crafted and highly individual music. ^

Subject Area

Music

Recommended Citation

House, Faxon Graham, "York Bowen's works for horn: A performer's guide and analysis" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3504228.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3504228

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