By Mervyn Cooke
Benjamin Britten's powerful curiosity within the musical traditions of the some distance East had a far-reaching effect on his compositional type; this booklet explores the hugely unique cross-cultural synthesis he used to be capable of in achieving by using fabric borrowed from Balinese, jap and Indian resources. Britten's stopover at to Indonesia and Japan in 1955-6 is reconstructed from archival assets, and proven to have had a profound impression on his next paintings: the strategies of Balinese gamelin tune have been utilized in the ballet "The Prince of the Pagodas" (1957), after which grew to become a necessary characteristic of Britten's compositional variety, at their such a lot effective in "Death in Venice" (1973); and the No rama and Gagaku courtroom tune of Japan have been the foundation for the trilogy of church parables Britten composed within the Sixties. the suitable nature of those impacts is mentioned: Britten's sporadic borrowings fromIndian song also are absolutely analyzed. there's a survey of severe reaction to Britten's cross-cultural experiments.
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Additional info for Britten and the Far East: Asian influences in the music of Benjamin Britten, Volume 1
It was on this occasion, for example, that Rimsky-Korsakov encountered folk instruments from Algeria which provided the stimulus for his own octatonic panpipes in the opera Mlada (1892) and thereby laid the foundations for one of the most significant new tonal concepts of the early twentieth century, later to be adopted by Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartók, Ravel, Messiaen and many others. '10 In an article written in 1913, Debussy briefly alluded to one of the most characteristic features of the texture of gamelan music: 4 See Ralph P.
Orchestrating Ma mère l'oye as a ballet in 1911, Ravel went one stage further than Debussy by employing a carefully selected percussion group to capture the sonorities of a Far Eastern percussion ensemble more vividly. The combination of xylophone, glockenspiel and celeste, variously supported by cymbal, harp and string pizzicato figurations, so uncannily suggests a gamelan orchestra in 'Laideronette' that it may be supposed that Ravel was also acquainted with the sound of the Conservatoire's gamelan.
Whether or not the appearance elsewhere in Britten's music of certain 'oriental' characteristics is merely coincidental or the result of conscious borrowing is therefore relatively unimportant: the fact that such correspondences exist at all is noteworthy, and they occur with sufficient frequency to warrant closer investigation. The precise nature of the personal significance with which Britten appears to have invested his oriental borrowings is a subject still open to debate: as one commentator has recently asserted, the close connection between the phenomena of orientalism and homo-eroticism is clearly of relevance (see pp.