John Taverner: His Life and Music

By Patterson, Myron B. | Notes, June 2005 | Go to article overview

John Taverner: His Life and Music


Patterson, Myron B., Notes


John Taverner: His Life and Music. By Hugh Benham. Burlington, VT: Ashgate , 2003. [xvii, 332 p. ISBN 0-7546-0142-0. $94.95.] Music examples, illustrations, notes, appendices, bibliography, index.

John Taverner (ca. 1490-1545) gained a degree of unexpected notoriety in the twentieth century when Sir Peter Maxwell Davies wrote his opera Taverner based on the Tudor composer's life. While biographical clarification was not the result of that work, the long-term interest in Taverner's music was affirmed.

Hugh Benham, arguably one of the most notable Taverner scholars, has provided an intensely detailed study of Taverner's music in the publication under review. While this monograph can stand alone, its strength is increased when used in conjunction with volumes 20, 25, 30, 35, and 36 of Early English Church Music (London: Stainer & Bell, 1962- ) in which the full musical scores edited by Benham can be found.

Directed at the informed amateur, student, and scholar, this publication will also find a welcome place in the hands of choral directors who seek to present informed and accurate performances of Taverner's music. In this publication, Benham places emphasis on the music with only one chapter devoted to biographical material. While this may seem a shortcoming, detailed information regarding Taverner's life is simply not available. For example, an exact birth date cannot be established. Nonetheless, it is known that he was born in Lincolnshire where he received a good musical education and established his reputation. This, ultimately, led him to a musical position in the highly regarded Cardinal's (now known as Christ Church) College, Oxford that was under the direct patronage of Cardinal Wolsey, who was, until his demise, arguably the most influential and powerful figure in England aside from the king. While there, he became indirectly involved in a Lutheran controversy connected with singers he had recruited from Lincolnshire. Subsequently, after Wolsey's fall from favor, and as a result of the lack of financial support given to Cardinal's College, Taverner returned to Lincolnshire. There he became successfully involved in music and also became a civic leader.

Under Henry VIII, life in England was uncertain due to the political climate, itself inseparable from the religious pluralism that was evolving as a result of the religious reformation taking place in Europe. In the present publication, Benham does not deal with this at any length. While this exclusion does not diminish the value of the book in any way, it would have been helpful to have a summary of the social, political, and religious uncertainty of the time in order to better contextualize Taverner's life and music. As it is, this information will have to be found elsewhere in a work such as G. R. Elton's book on the Tudors (G. R. Elton, England Under The Tudors, 2d. ed. [London: Methuen, 1974]). Conversely, the author may assume that the reader already has this knowledge.

Organizationally, the book is divided into two large sections. Chapters 1 through 5 provide a background against which details of style and technique are discussed in chapters 6 through 12. The introduction gives a concise synopsis of each of the chapters and Benham's editorial policy regarding music examples, Latin translations, spelling, manuscript references, and collected editions. Preceding the introduction are complete lists of plates, tables, music examples with measure numbers from the relevant score editions, and abbreviations including library sigla.

Performance issues are clearly addressed by dealing with such questions as modern editions, pitch, "reduced passages" for semi-chorus and chorus, as well as the lack of evidence about sixteenth-century rehearsal techniques, tempi, time signatures, text underlay, and Latin pronunciation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

John Taverner: His Life and Music
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.