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Sir Arthur Sullivan the Romantic. Ivanhoe, Haddon Hall, and The Beauty Stone – Sad Milestones or Compositional Maturity?

SMITH, NATHAN,PHILIP,WESTELL (2023) Sir Arthur Sullivan the Romantic. Ivanhoe, Haddon Hall, and The Beauty Stone – Sad Milestones or Compositional Maturity? Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Sir Arthur Sullivan’s romantic operas, Ivanhoe (1891), Haddon Hall (1892), and The Beauty Stone (1898), have been condemned since their disappearance from the repertory. Analysis has been almost non-existent and audience reception has been equated with compositional decline.

Over the past thirty-five years, there has been a re-discovery of the least-known aspects of Sullivan’s career beyond his work with W.S. Gilbert. Despite this, his final decade, particularly his romantic works, have remained relatively untouched by musicologists. Therefore, understanding contemporary reception of these works was paramount, delineating a context in which these works were performed, but also providing a firmer understanding of how ideological camps within musical criticism and the tastes of English audiences have affected perception of Sullivan’s later oeuvre.

It is against the precedents of Sullivan’s most successful romantic work, The Golden Legend (1886), that Ivanhoe, Haddon Hall, and The Beauty Stone have been evaluated, discerning an upward trajectory in compositional style, despite numerous compositional constraints. This involved investigation into the circumstances which affected these late romantic works and how these might have negatively impacted them, accounting for their occasional drawbacks.

Finally, aided by the reconstruction of full score material by Robin Gordon-Powell and Roger Harris, together with the sponsorship of the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society, each work has been professionally recorded. With the publication of such vital sources, the concept of compositional decline is no longer sustainable. Delving into the melodic, structural, thematic, orchestral, and tonal aspects of these later works, a compositional maturity, particularly in relation to Ivanhoe and The Beauty Stone, is discernible, providing a deeper understanding of Sullivan’s later romantic style.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Music
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Dec 2023 10:06

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