Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Batchelor, Stephen. "Benjamin Britten and His Works for the Guitar." The Journal of the British Music Society 18 (1996): 35-49.

Benjamin Britten's 1963 Nocturnal after John Dowland for solo guitar is a set of variations on Elizabethan composer John Dowland's 1597 lute song Come Heavy Sleep. Unlike most theme and variation forms, however, the theme appears at the end, rather than the beginning of the composition. The eight variations, based on melodic fragments of Dowland's song, depict various stages of insomnia, and have the character of fleeting, nightmarish episodes. The interaction of notes, chords, and keys a semitone apart is a salient feature of the variations. The tension generated by this dissonant harmonic relationship dissipates when Dowland's song is quoted at the end of the composition.

Works: Britten: Nocturnal after John Dowland (35-40, 46-48).

Sources: Dowland: Come Heavy Sleep (46-48).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Scott Grieb

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