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TudorismHistorical Imagination and the Appropriation of the Sixteenth Century$
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Tatiana C. String and Marcus Bull

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264942

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264942.001.0001

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Tudorism in English Music, 1837–1953

Tudorism in English Music, 1837–1953

(p.57) 3 Tudorism in English Music, 1837–1953


British Academy

Between the early nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, a cultivated relationship with the music of a favoured period in the distant national past was a pervasive aspect of high, and sometimes lower, musical culture in England. This chapter first sketches a general picture of that relationship before presenting some particular case studies. It addresses the following questions: to what extent does Tudorism in music refer to the revival of music itself, to what extent to its stylistic emulation in nineteenth- and twentieth-century English compositions? Was it a matter of appealing to the Tudors to set a political agenda for music? Tudorism in English music was many things but also one very definite thing — a conscious modelling of style or atmosphere in musical composition on that of a perceived golden age of national culture. It was in some respects part of the early music movement that Harry Haskell identified as beginning in 1829 with Mendelssohn's revival of J. S. Bach's St Matthew Passion, yet not the same thing insofar as that movement was about reviving discarded old music and Tudorism was about creating new music in an earlier image.

Keywords:   Tudorism, musical culture, English music, musical composition, Harry Haskell, Mendelssohn, J. S. Bach

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