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The role of Sir Henry J. Wood in the English Bach awakening: orchestral Bach at the Proms 1895-1944

French, Hannah Chloe (2014) The role of Sir Henry J. Wood in the English Bach awakening: orchestral Bach at the Proms 1895-1944. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Sir Henry J. Wood’s Promenade performances of J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites and his orchestral arrangements of solo works were identified by contemporary writers as his lasting contribution to the popularization of Bach in England. However, Wood’s introduction of this repertoire has not featured in recent research into the English Bach awakening; my original contribution to knowledge is therefore to posit Wood as crucial to disseminating orchestral Bach at the turn of the twentieth century. This thesis provides an historical context to Bach in England pre-1895, to Wood’s knowledge of the composer, and to the suitability of the Prom series for the promotion of Bach’s works. Examination of printed Proms programmes – from the number of performances to programme design and soloists employed – indicates trends in Wood’s introduction and popularization of the repertoire. Wood’s marked scores and orchestral parts of the Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites reveal the implications of editions used and priorities in performance practices; autograph manuscripts, in conjunction with a 1944 edition of Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, suggest a final (unfinished) editorial project as an educative legacy. Furthermore, his recordings of Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 6 show the degree to which the marked scores may be relied upon as a realization of Wood’s intentions, and the extent to which his lively interpretations differed from those made by contemporary conductors. Integral to Wood’s success was his use of arrangements: analyses of his Toccata in F, Orchestral Suites Nos. 5 and 6, and Toccata and Fugue in D minor present the wider orchestral colour that Wood heard in Bach’s music. The thesis concludes that Wood educated the Proms public to view Bach as melodious and vital, rather than dry and academic, and that negative criticism of his performances contributed towards the inception of historically-informed interpretations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Vols I and II combined
Keywords: Sir Henry Joseph Wood, Johann Sebastian Bach, English Bach awakening, Promenade concerts, Promenade programmes, Brandenburg concertos, Orchestral suites, Orchestral arrangements, Recordings, Editions, Marked scores, Historical performance
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.638874
Depositing User: Dr Hannah Chloe French
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2015 11:49
Last Modified: 11 May 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7515

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