Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Harbison, John. "Peter Maxwell Davies' Taverner." Perspectives of New Music 11 (Fall-Winter 1972): 233-40.

The opera Taverner by Peter Maxwell Davies highlights the composer's ability to portray the struggle between old and new musical styles. Davies has always been interested in musical borrowing. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, this was manifested by his interest in melodic fragments from the seventeenth century. In the 1970s, his interest turned toward theatrical venues and his borrowing became more extensive. The opera tells the story of the composer John Taverner and is based on Taverner's In Nomine, stated in full only at the end of the work. Throughout the work, Davies plays with certain intervals and phrases from Taverner's piece, including the whole tones found in the cantus firmus and the tritones that appear in several voices. By greatly slowing the harmonic motion, Davies is able to reinterpret the pitches and their functions as they stood in the original. This relates to the theme of the opera, which involves an examination of the artist being in league with the devil and with death.

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Jessica Sternfeld

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