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Britten and the Guitar

Critical Perspectives for Performers

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Benjamin Dwyer

Benjamin Dwyer’s Britten and the Guitar: Critical Perspectives for Performers is the first complete study of the guitar works of Benjamin Britten. This book offers more than an objective analytical study of these compositions. Dwyer draws upon his expertise as a classical guitarist, composer and musicologist to deliver a multi-lensed examination of this music providing broad contexts and unique insights.

Dwyer not only explores the intricate relationship between Britten, his life-long partner, the tenor Peter Pears, and the guitarist Julian Bream, for whom all the guitar works were written, but goes further in situating Renaissance composer and lutenist John Dowland as a central and inspirational figure who hovers over all of Britten’s guitar works. In so doing, he offers new perspectives into Britten’s compositional approach demonstrating how techniques of musical rhetoric, exemplified by Dowland, are central to his musical language. 

Britten and the Guitar: Critical Perspectives for Performers is an essential guide for the professional guitarist and singer, the committed teacher, and those who simply wish to understand more about the guitar music of one Britain’s foremost composers.

Table of contents