A study of English-language sacred solo literature by selected twentieth-century composers
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Sacred songs--History and criticism--20th century.
Theses D. M. A.--Church music.
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This dissertation facilitates the study of twentieth-century sacred solo literature for the voice in the English language, providing a survey of English and American composers who have made significant contributions to the sacred solo repertoire. This work also serves as a reference tool for singers and voice students in selecting sacred literature for vocal study, recital programming, or church use. Sacred solo literature is defined as music literature for solo voice and piano or other instrumental accompaniment using texts that are consistent with the tenets of orthodox Christianity. Sacred texts in this context include biblical texts, Christian hymn texts, metaphysical poetry, ancient prayers, traditional carols, and religious folk and humorous texts. Twenty-four composers are represented in this survey. Each composer's entry includes a biographical sketch, discussion of song style and sacred solo literature, an annotated list of sacred solo works, and recommended sources for further study. The biographical sketches of many composers include discussions of their religious lives and philosophical beliefs, placing their settings of sacred texts in the context of their spiritual lives. Composers are grouped into four categories. American art song composers include representative American composers who have composed sacred songs primarily for the concert stage and are recognized as significant contributors to American art song repertory: Amy Beach, Charles Ives, Ernst Bacon, Virgil Thomson, David Diamond, Ned Rorem, Daniel Pinkham, Alan Hovhaness, Norman Dello Joio, and Carlisle Floyd. English art song composers include English composers who have composed sacred songs primarily for the concert stage and are recognized as significant contributors to the English art song repertory: Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Alec Rowley, Gerald Finzi, Michael Head, Benjamin Britten, and Edmund Rubbra. Church music composers are represented by five composers who have composed sacred solo literature primarily for the church soloist, but whose sacred songs are also appropriate for vocal study and recital programming: Leo Sowerby, Edwin Childs, Craig Courtney, Mark Hayes, and Eric Thiman. Arrangers of African-American spirituals are represented by two composers whose reputations rest primarily on their settings of African-American or Negro spirituals: Harry T. Burleigh and John Carter.