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Durham e-Theses
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The Importance of Being Ernest John : Challenging the Misconceptions about the Life and Works of E. J. Moeran

MAXWELL, IAN (2014) The Importance of Being Ernest John : Challenging the Misconceptions about the Life and Works of E. J. Moeran. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The thesis begins by presenting a set of beliefs about the composer Ernest John Moeran that has come to be recognised as Moeran conventional wisdom. Hitherto, all writing about the composer, scholarly or otherwise, has been predicated on the acceptance of these beliefs as undeniable fact. All aspects of the composer’s life and work have been perceived and rationalised within their context, and together they have provided what has until now been acknowledged as the basis of biography. This research project has determined conclusively that most, if not all, of these beliefs are the result of misunderstanding, exaggeration, speculation or fabrication, and may therefore be regarded as misconceptions.
These misconceptions are herein challenged through the narrating of episodes from Moeran’s life-journey, as constructed from the results of forensic and hermeneutic examination of such source material and documentary evidence as it has been possible to locate and examine. Moeran, as both man and composer, is consequently revealed to have been a substantially different character from that portrayed by the conventional wisdom, and while the body of music he composed remains unchanged the perception and reception of it is radically transformed.
Moeran’s development as a composer is traced by the examination of a few representative works, each of which relates specifically to the aspect of his life under consideration. These works have also been selected to illustrate both Moeran’s stylistic originality and his formal ingenuity.
The thesis concludes with a re-assessment of the composer and his achievement. The impact on Moeran scholarship of the findings presented in the body of the thesis is described and areas where further research may extend these findings are suggested.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Sep 2014 09:26

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