Composing in Words: William Alwyn on his Art

Edited by Andrew Palmer
Extent: 300 pages
Composition: Royal octavo
Illustrations: 26 b/w

The English composer William Alwyn (1905-85) was not only one of the most versatile creative figures of his age, writing music for the concert hall, recital room, operatic stage and film screen; he was also a virtuoso instrumentalist and conductor, the teacher of some of the most important composers of the succeeding generation, and the founder of a number of influential music committees such as the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain. Alwyn was a gifted writer, too, alive to literature and art – especially pre-Raphaelite painting, on which he was an authority – as well as to music, and Composing in Words presents his most important writings: the autobiographical essay Winged Chariot; the diary, Ariel to Miranda, in which he chronicled the composition of his Third Symphony; an extract from Early Closing, Alwyn’s reminiscences of his Northampton childhood; and essays on film music, and on other composers, among them Elgar, Bax and Puccini.

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