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Orientalism in Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River Hodgins, Jean 1981

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c.l ORIENTALISM IN BENJAMIN BRITTEN'S CURLEW RIVER by JEAN HODGINS B. Mus., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1963 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Music We accept th i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May, 1981 Jean Hodgins, 1981 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requir ments for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Music The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date .0, o H . .11V ABSTRACT ORIENTALISM IN BENJAMIN BRITTEN'S CURLEW RIVER by JEAN HODGINS Benjamin Britten's Curlew River, Op. 71 was written i n 1964, eight years after a prolonged t r i p to the Near East. This t r i p had a profound e f f e c t on three of Britten's major works, namely his b a l l e t score The Prince of the Pagodas,- Op. 55 written in 1956, Songs from the Chinese, Op. 58 written i n 19 57 and f i n a l l y Curlew River. These three works show i n various ways a merging of Britten's personal s t y l e with s p e c i f i o r i e n t a l musical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s giving r i s e to a p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g c u l t u r a l synthesis. In the l a s t of these works, Curlew River, the' compositional s t y l e of the composer becomes so integrated with o r i e n t a l , and s p e c i f i c a l l y Noh-drama charac-t e r i s t i c s that to analyse and enumerate separate c u l t u r a l aspects i n the music becomes a d i f f i c u l t task. In order to discuss Curlew River as a cr o s s - c u l t u r a l phenomenon, a c r i t i c a l examination of certa i n aspects of sty l e and performance i n two c u l t u r a l spheres i s necessary. A b r i e f discussion of the Medieval mystery play and the Japanese Noh Drama and t h e i r important components i s a l o g i c a l preliminary to any detailed analysis of Curlew River. Also, a general look at what "orientalism" has meant h i s t o r i c a l l y , i n the f i e l d of western music, i s important i n forming some points of reference for the proposed study. Further, i n an attempt to characterize "orientalism" i n Curlew River, a b r i e f look at Britten's previous excursions into t h i s area w i l l be undertaken On a more detailed l e v e l , a discussion of c e r t a i n aspects of Britten's compositional techniques i n Curlew River i s necessary emphasizing s p e c i f i c c u l t u r a l borrowings from the Japanese Noh Drama in areas of vocal, instrumental, ensemble, dramatic and s t r u c t u r a l writing. It i s expected that, i n con-sidering Britten's treatment of adapted non-western composi-t i o n a l techniques within the framework of his own personal s t y l e , a clearer conception w i l l evolve of the extent to which B r i t t e n integrates aspects of two such diverse musical cultures. Although Benjamin B r i t t e n , i n a "Note by the Composer" enclosed i n the London Recording (1965) of Curlew River, writes that there i s "nothing s p e c i f i c a l l y Japanese l e f t i n the Parable that William Plomer and I have written" a strong case can be made for the c u l t u r a l synthesis that Curlew River rep-resents. While l i s t s of p a r a l l e l s may be drawn between the two types of morality plays - the Noh Drama.and the Medieval r e l i g i o u s play - and while further p a r a l l e l s may be drawn be-tween Sumidagawa and i t s r e a l i z a t i o n Curlew River, the r e a l task l i e s i n showing how B r i t t e n was able to avoid a naive pastiche of the Japanese model and instead was able to create an integrated, viable and innovative Church Parable. While the p a r a l l e l concept i s generally r e a l i z e d by researchers, there have been few attempts to show the depth of cross-c u l t u r a l concept inherent i n Curlew River. Therefore, i t would appear to be important to examine c r i t -i c a l l y and to reveal Benjamin Britten's extraordinary a b i l i t y to absorb another culture's musical i d e a l , to incorporate t h i s ideal i v into conventions of his own musical culture and. to arr i v e at a work that i s s t i l l representative of his own highly i n d i v i d u a l compositional s t y l e . Curlew River, the l a s t of Britten's works d i r e c t l y influenced by orientalism and considered by many scholars to be tremendously i n f l u e n t i a l on his l a t e r scores, presents a unique opportunity for such a study. V TABLE' OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i LIST OF TABLES v i LIST OF FIGURES v i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT v i i i INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter I. ORIENTALISM Introduction 5 Chinoiserie 6 Orientalism i n Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Music 12 Japonaiserie i n the Nineteenth Century . . . 17 Orientalism i n Nineteenth Century Music . . 18 Summary 24 II . DRAMATIC AND FORMAL ELEMENTS: ASSOCIATION WITH JAPANESE NOH-DRAMA . . . . 27 II I . INSTRUMENTAL ELEMENTS: COINCIDENCE AND ASSOCIATION WITH JAPANESE MUSIC 54 IV. VOCAL ELEMENTS: COINCIDENCE AND ASSOCIATION WITH JAPANESE MUSIC 81 V. CONCLUSIONS 100 BIBLIOGRAPHY Books and A r t i c l e s 103 Music Editions 106 LIST OF TABLES v i LIST OF TABLES TABLE I NOH STRUCTURE AND MUSICAL STYLE .40 TABLE II COMPARISON BETWEEN NOH-DRAMA AND CURLEW RIVER - DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL STRUCTURE 43 / \ v i i LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Man dressed for working compared to Ferryman . . . . 36 1 2. Madwoman costumes 36 3. Man i n t r a v e l l i n g clothes compared to Tra v e l l e r . . 36 4. Nohkan 57 5. Ko tzuzumi 57 6. 0 tzuzumi 57 7. Taiko 5 7 v i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would l i k e t o thank s e v e r a l p e o p l e f o r t h e i r h e l p and a d v i c e i n t h e p r e p a r a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s . Dr. D i m i t r i Conomos, my committee chairman, was p a r t i c u l a r l y h e l p f u l w i t h h i s e x t e n s i v e knowledge o f t h e music o f Benjamin B r i t t e n . Dr. Robert M o r r i s and Mr. E l l i o t W e i s g a r b e r b o t h l e n t t h e i r e x p e r t i s e i n m a t t e r s o f v o c a l works and Japanese music. Dr. Ming-Yueh L i a n g i s l a r g e l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r my c o n t i n u e d i n t e r e s t i n t he f i e l d o f A s i a n m u s i c . Dr. Terence B a i l e y and K a t h r y n B a i l e y were mentors f o r many o f the i d e a s i n t h e t h e s i s , and Dr. Evan K r e i d e r k i n d l y s p e n t c o n s i d e r a b l e t ime on d e t a i l s o f p r e s e n t a t i o n . r 1 INTRODUCTION In 1955, Benjamin B r i t t e n took an extended t r i p to the Far East, where he heard performances of the Balinese gamelan and the t r a d i t i o n a l music of Japan. These two experiences, v i v i d l y r e c a l l e d i n a companion's t r a v e l d i a r y , 1 l e f t a profound impression on Britten's musical expression over the next decade. With remarkable s e n s i t i v i t y to a foreign musical genre, B r i t t e n absorbed o r i e n t a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s into his compositional f i b r e , creating a fascinating synthesis of q u a l i t i e s from two musical cultures. Three s p e c i f i c works, the Prince of the Pagodas, Songs from the Chinese and Curlew River, a l l written between 1956 and 1964 show thi s c u l t u r a l synthesis to a greater or lesser degree. The l a t e s t of the three works, Curlew River, composed i n 1964, presents the greatest variety and complexity of orientalisms and, as a consequence, provides a r i c h source for examination. This church parable, based on a Japanese Noh-drama, i s of i n t e r e s t to scholars for many d i f f e r e n t reasons. As the f i r s t of Britten's church parables, i t represents a new musical genre combining elements of opera, cantata and oratorio as well as aspects of the ancient morality play. Furthermore, many scholars f e e l that Curlew River symbolizes the t r a n s i t i o n to Britten's l a s t s t y l i s t i c period of composi-tion , a period marked by increased abstraction i n rhythm, t o n a l i t y and harmony. However, of singular importance to t h i s Ludwig, Prince of Hesse and the Rhine. "Ausflug Ost", 1956, A Tribute to Benjamin B r i t t e n on his F i f t i e t h Birthday by A. Gishford, Faber, London, 1963. 2 thesis are the adaptations of o r i e n t a l musical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s into western musical forms. Such s t y l i s t i c aspects as per-formance medium and practice, melody, rhythm, harmony and form are examined only to the extent that they shed l i g h t on the question of a c r o s s - c u l t u r a l synthesis. The above s t y l i s t i c considerations i n Curlew River are i d e n t i f i e d both by t h e i r o r i e n t a l prototype and by Britten's adaptation. This b i l a t e r a l approach o f f e r s a concrete appreciation of the extent to which B r i t t e n borrows and interprets another culture's musical a t t r i -butes, s k i l l f u l l y blending them into a European a r t i s t i c conception. In exposing these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s some intere s t i n g consid-erations a r i s e which should be noted at t h i s time. While many of the orientalisms are self-evident, 'once the background of Curlew River i s understood, many other Eastern features which are less obvious require f a i r l y intense scrutiny. However, there l i e dangers i n too close an examination of the score of Curlew River i f the researcher begins seeing more c u l t u r a l borrowings than are t r u l y present. I t i s prudent to remember that while B r i t t e n was a great musician with a sensitive ear, he was expert neither i n Japanese music nor i n the Noh-drama. His stay i n Tokyo was very b r i e f and i t appears that he saw 2 only two performances of t h i s kind of theatre. He was also present at one special performance of gagaku, the Japanese Benjamin B r i t t e n , "A Note By the Composer" i n the record notes for Curlew River, London Recording, OSA-1156, 1956. 3 Imperial Court Music. Undoubtedly, the es s e n t i a l aspects of the performances that B r i t t e n attended i n Japan were explained to him by experts, but nowhere i n any writings about B r i t t e n are there any indications that he studied Japanese music. Rather, i t appears that B r i t t e n was influenced to a remarkable degree by t h i s l i m i t e d exposure to the Noh-drama and gagaku, which provided the impetus for his formed u t i l i z a t i o n of Japanese musical idioms. Therefore, i t i s important to conduct any examination of Curlew River with a r e a l i s t i c attitude to the degree of complexity of orientalisms i n the score. Although Britten's knowledge of Japanese musical practise i s that of the educated and perceptive layman, his usage i s masterly. The process of transforming the kernels of a non-western musical experience into an innovative, integrated and v i v i d western musical genre i s the unique c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Curlew River. Attempts to show deep ethnomusicological q u a l i t i e s i n Britten's parable would no doubt prove f r u i t l e s s . However, i f Curlew  River i s studied as a European production with large added dimensions of Asian musical elements, a c r o s s - c u l t u r a l view-point can emerge. Benjamin Britten's hopes for t h i s kind of viewpoint are c l e a r l y stated i n "A Note by the Composer" when he discussed the lessons to be learned from the s k i l l and dedication of the performers of the Noh-drama. He questions: Was i t not possible to use just such a story - the simple one of a demented mother seeking her l o s t c h i l d - with an English background (for there was no question i n any ^ case of a pastiche from the ancient Japanese)? 3 I b i d . 4 How successfully B r i t t e n synthesizes his knowledge of two cultures i n Curlew River w i l l be the subject of the following discussion. 5 CHAPTER I ORIENTALISM Introduction 'Orientalism' i s a word commonly used with reference to % several interdependent designations. In the s t r i c t e s t terms, a modern h i s t o r i a n , anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, or any other researcher who studies or writes about the Orient within i t s c u l t u r a l context i s an O r i e n t a l i s t and his work i s Orient-alism. Before the twentieth century, a broader scope of t h i s f i e l d included a s t y l e of thought which was less s c i e n t i f i c and more imaginative i n i t s outlook. From the r e l a t i v e l y small amount of knowledge of the Orient i n the seventeenth and eight-eenth centuries, and from s l i g h t l y more knowledge i n the nine-teenth century, elaborate theories and accounts of the orient were concocted which were only h a l f factual.''" These f a n t a s t i c descriptions were readily accepted by the general European pop-ulation, t h e i r c r e d i b i l i t y growing i n stature to become even-t u a l l y the h i s t o r i c a l basis of early knowledge of the people, customs, and philosophy of the Orient. The quest for the riches of Oriental lands, and the desire for exotic colonies was led primarily by England and France, and to a lesser degree Germany and Holland. While much of """Such accounts as the fourteenth century The Travels  of S i r John Mandeville, since proven to be an e n t i r e l y f i c t i o n a l account written by a writer who never l e f t England, enjoyed immense popularity during the Middle Ages. This and other accounts form F r i a r Odoric on his missionary travels i n 1324 and Marco Polo's Description of the World (12 71-1295) formed the basis for seventeenth and eighteenth century knowledge of the Orient. 6 eighteenth and nineteenth century European i n t e r e s t i n Orient-alism stemmed from a necessity to understand the colonized countries, the s t y l e of l i f e as seen i n architecture, decora-tio n , r e l i g i o n and philosophy was extremely a t t r a c t i v e to the European c o l o n i a l explorers. Those Oriental attributes which the Occidental t r a v e l l e r found a t t r a c t i v e or l u c r a t i v e enough to bring home are of the most s p e c i f i c i n t e r e s t to the enquiry of t h i s thesis. The history of imitation and adaptation of Oriental c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s has a complex and fascinating back-ground i n European l i f e from the e a r l i e s t times of spice and s i l k imports to the modern day. The orientalisms i n Benjamin Britten's Curlew River are within the European t r a d i t i o n of adaptation and imitation and are blended into a European musi-ca l concept. Because the process of transformation i s of p r i -mary importance to this thesis, an h i s t o r i c t r a c i n g of the phenomenon, in. related a r t i s t i c f i e l d s such as painting, arch-it e c t u r e and the decorative arts i s a useful area of inquiry before a more detailed analysis of.Orientalisms i n Curlew  River i s undertaken. Chinoiserie The most f a m i l i a r s t y l e of orientalism known to European cultures i s that of c h i n o i s e r i e , an important influence i n painting, sculpture, the decorative arts and, to a l e s s e r degree, music. Chinoiserie began as a European conception of Chinese art styles and an i d e a l i z e d v i s i o n of the Chinese Empire. From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, t h i s v i s i o n of the Orient underwent certain gradual changes so 7 that what began as an imitation of a foreign culture gradually emerged as an independent European a r t - s t y l e . Only i n the nineteenth century does the f a n t a s t i c v i s i o n of Cathay, upon 2 which chmoiserie i s based, become disturbed by realism. Early European knowledge of China was based on popular accounts drawn from merchants' and t r a v e l l e r s ' t a l e s , most of which contained l i t t l e factual material; these t r a v e l l e r s were interested primarily i n the s i l k trade. From the f i r s t century A.D., the S i l k Route, overland from Greece through Central Asia to China, was used by the Greeks, Romans, and Parthians. With the increasing demand for s i l k over the next few centuries, e s p e c i a l l y i n Rome and Byzantium, i t became desirable for Medi-terranean countries to begin t h e i r own s i l k production. Around 550 - A. D. , silkworm eggs were smuggled out of China in t o Byzan-.. tium, thereby ending the long monopoly of China i n s i l k produc-t i o n . However, Chinese s i l k s and porcelain continued to t r i c k l e into Europe between 500 - 1000 A.D., probably accounting for i s o l a t e d usage of Chinese motifs on European frescoes, manu-s c r i p t s , and carvings. The most important and c e r t a i n l y the most well-documented l i n k between Medieval Europe and China was the celebrated t r i p of Marco Polo i n the thirteenth century to the court of Kublai Khan. Returning to Venice, Marco Polo brought back r i c h treasures and tales of a wealthy, b e a u t i f u l , and enlightened China. The c i v i l i t y of the Chinese, even when Cathay i s the name by which China was known to medival Europe. The name, often used i n l a t e r poetic contexts, symbols ized the p a r t i c u l a r medieval viewpoint of ancient China. 3 See Hugh Honour, Chinoiserie; the Vision of Cathay, London: J . Murray, 1961. pp. 3 3-35. 8 half a mile away from Kublai Khan's presence, i s described i n his t a l e s . ... out of reverence for his exalted majesty, everybody preserves a mien of the greatest meekness and quiet, so that no noise of s h r i l l voices or loud t a l k s h a l l be heard. And every one of the chiefs and nobles c a r r i e s always with him a handsome l i t t l e vessel to s p i t i n whilst he remain i n the h a l l of Audience -for no one dares to s p i t on the f l o o r of the h a l l - and when he hath spitten he covers i t up and puts i t aside.4 Renewed in t e r e s t i n t h i s country spurred other countries to send embassies to China, and following the opening of communi-cations, early examples of Chinese blue and white porcelain appeared i n Europe at t h i s time. From the few Chinese art facts available to Europeans at t h i s time, along with the highly embellished " h i s t o r i e s " of merchants and diplomats, the European conception of China, or Cathay, began to be set. A picture of a country which had autocratic yet just r u l e r s , industrious, obedient, and s k i l l e d c i t i z e n s , t r i b e s of strange monsters and serpents, fabulous palaces, jewels and huge gold reserves emerged and was accepted i n Europe u n t i l the end of the seventeenth century. In the early part of t h i s century, o r i e n t a l decoration became extremely fashionable i n Europe. Imitations of scenes from imported Oriental goods appeared on European engravings, cabinets, and porcelain. De l f t pottery began i n Holland i n 1614 as an imitation of Ming Chinese blue and white porcelain, painted with figures of Chinese people, gods, dragons, and flowers i n a charming but naive style based on popular 4 I b i d , p. 11. 9 conceptions of China. Eastern f a b r i c s became increasingly pop-ular and were imitated by textilemakers in France and England. The importation of tea into English homes caused the accoutrements of tea-drinking - cups, pots, caddies and kettl e s - to be seen widely i n English homes. O r i g i n a l Chinese porce-l a i n was preferred for tea-drinking, but English imitations began to be made as early as the end of the seventeenth century. With the popularity of porcelain, t e x t i l e s and decorative a r t i f a c t s of Chinese design or o r i g i n , more adventuresome enter-prises i n architecture began to emerge. Louis XIV, for his mistress Madame de Montespan, b u i l t a p a v i l i o n based on a Chinses plan i n 1670. The p a v i l i o n , the Trianon de porcelaine, was b u i l t i n the park at V e r s a i l l e s and was said to be inspired by a porcelain pagoda at Nanking. In fact, however, the T r i -anon i s b u i l t i n "an uncompromisingly late seventeenth century 5 c l a s s i c a l s t y l e ; " the blue and white colour scheme, thought at the time to be t y p i c a l l y Chinese, and Chinese flowered embroideries gave the important exotic touches to the i n t e r i o r of the Trianon. The vogue for chinoiserie spread from the French courts to the r i c h merchant class; small pavilions i n bourgeosie gardens became common as did o r i e n t a l furniture and porcelain. The establishment of a Siamese embassy i n Paris i n 1684 gave the French royal family further access to exquisite Oriental work i n gold, lacquer, embroidery and pottery. The extravagant receptions and parades for these exotic d i g n i t a r i e s Honour, p. 55. 10 f i r e d popular imagination and i n the following years many mas-querades and t h e a t r i c a l productions celebrated the Siamese em-bassy and the Orient, i n general. V e r s a i l l e s , with i t s huge chi n o i s e r i e c o l l e c t i o n inspired other European monarchs to follow s u i t . An increasingly popular aspect of Chinoiserie i n the l a t e seventeenth and early eigh-teenth centuries was the use of lacquer i n furniture, room panels and smaller objects. Chinese lacquer furniture became popular f i r s t , but then Japanese lacquer work, of a much higher quality, became the p r i n c i p a l import into Europe. The demand for Japanese lacquer far outweighed the amount imported; how-ever, Dutch craftsmen managed to perfect a technique i n the l a t e seventeenth century which was hard to t e l l from the o r i -g i n a l , employing a glossy surface d e l i c a t e l y decorated with chinois e r i e flowers, birds and scenes. This European lacquer process was c a l l e d "japanning" to d i s t i n g u i s h i t from the r e a l Japanese export lacquer. An English t r e a t i s e on japanning written i n 1688 describes i n d e t a i l the lacquer process and includes designs for decoration. The designs are apparently based on authentic imported examples but the authors John Stalker and George Parker do confess that "perhaps we have helped them a l i t t l e i n their-proportions where they were lame or defective, and made them more pleasant, yet altogether as Antick." This attitude of adapting non-European designs and decoration for European tastes became even more prevalent i n the mid-eighteenth century. The process gave r i s e to an Honour, Chinoiserie, p. 73. e c l e c t i c s t y l e that did not di s t i n g u i s h c l e a r l y between Chinese Japanese, Indian or Siamese influences, but rather amalgamated various aspects from these countries i n an often bizarre or f a n c i f u l expression with modifications that would s u i t the ob-jec t to a European home of the period. With the increasingly light-hearted and elegant treatment of decoration in the l a t e r eighteenth century, the st y l e of Chinoiserie acquired a further dimension; the o r i g i n a l imitation of Chinese scenes becomes transformed into a fr i v o l o u s , exaggerated and fa n t a s t i c s t y l e . The appearance of Chinese figures i n a European landscape and monkeys i n o r i e n t a l costumes capering over harpsichord l i d s or c e i l i n g s and walls i s commonplace i n European roccoco chinoi serie of the la t e eighteenth century. English roccoco c h i n o i -serie i s t y p i f i e d i n the furniture of Thomas Chippendale, who included japan work, l a t t i c e s , fretwork and carved pieces with elaborate brackets and frames for his creations i n the "Chinese s t y l e . Regency chi n o i s e r i e i n England, popular between 1800 and 18 30, resulted from the remodeling of the Royal P a v i l i o n at Brighton. The extravagance and opulence of the decor made i t the most exotic o r i e n t a l building i n Europe. With the Brighton P a v i l i o n , the taste for f a n t a s t i c and extravagant chinoiserie had reached i t s pinnacle; the craze for orientalism faded u n t i l the rediscovery of Japan i n the l a t e nineteenth century revived Europe's taste for the exotic. 12 Orientalism i n Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Music The fashion for orientalism i n architecture, painting and the decorative arts extended into music and was p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable i n music written for court entertainments. In t h i s age of patronage, composers were often asked to include some kind of Oriental dance, song or scene i n t h e i r opera or dance su i t e . In L u l l y ' s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (1670), a Turkish ceremony was included at the request of Louise XIV for an entertainment containing a "turquerie". This comedy b a l l e t , produced i n collaboration with Moliere u t i l i z e d large choruses, extended orchestral numbers and solo ensembles. The Turkish ceremony included i n Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme was based on the r i t u a l of reception of novices into the Mevlevi Dervish sect. L u l l y employed Turkish words and phrases i n the l i b r e t t o , but stopped short of u t i l i z i n g Turkish musical aspects; rather,-he used devices that he considered representative of Turkish music. Repeated G major chords i n the Dervish dance were doubtlessly used to represent the monotonous, hypnotic charac-ter of the whirling dance r i t u a l , (ex. 1) Example 1 L u l l y , J.B. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Dervish Dance, p. 89 A l . la, A l _ la, A l _ la, A l . la, A l - la, A l -A l _ la, A l _ la, A l _ la, A l _ U , A l _• la, A l A l _ la, A l _ la, A l _ la, A l - la, A l _ la, A l -The instruments used are not s p e c i f i c but are described as ' 7 various instruments "a l a turkesque". Another French composer, Rameau i n his opera b a l l e t Les Indes galantes (1735) included scenes of Turkey, Persia, Peru and "Les Sauvages" i n his work, but apart from costuming and set design, very l i t t l e i n t e r e s t was shown i n the musical exploitation of these cultures. A tambourine i s the only "exotic" instrument c a l l e d for, and some attention i s focused on the tetrachordal structure of the g music, perhaps reminiscent of Eastern scale structures. Other composers of the sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries used exotic e f f e c t s i n th e i r operas and b a l l e t s but generally, these e f f e c t s were s t y l i z e d conceptions of the c u l -ture represented. Such things as the use of primitive sounding harmonies (open f i f t h s , fourths) use of rhythmic e c c e n t r i c i t i e s to emphasize a grotesque e f f e c t , excessive chromaticism and r e p e t i t i o n of chords or phrases often had some small authentic touch, but on the whole were well within the norms of Western Baroque music. This synthesis of a European musical t r a d i t i o n with a s t y l i z e d conception of Oriental music i s e n t i r e l y i n keeping with the trend in painting, t e x t i l e s and other decora-ti v e arts of the period. The popularity of chinoi s e r i e i n the above f i e l d s i s strongly r e f l e c t e d i n the.music of Henry Purcell's The Fairy  Queen (1692). As an adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer  Night's Dream, the P u r c e l l masque included a strange addition 7 Miriam Whaples, Exoticism i n Dramatic Music between 1600 and 1800. p. 98 8 I b i d , p. 133 - a Chinese garden scene complete with characters dressed i n Chinese costumes singing "Chinese songs". The three "Chinese songs" contain no real orientalisms, other than the fact that they are sung by people i n Chinese costume; the vocal l i n e i s en t i r e l y European, (ex. 2) Example 2 P u r c e l l , H.. The Fairy Queen 47 , p. 170 j 1 n f r o r [Thus hap-pyandfree,Thus treat-ed are we.With Na-ture'schiefest de - lights; 1 I I I f : However, l a t e r i n the scene, a chaconne occurs which contains . . 9 a sur p r i s i n g l y angular and awkward bass l i n e . Written by a master of thorough bass, the bass l i n e appears to be a d e l i b -erate attempt to portray primitivism, a common manner of ex-: pressing exotic music at the time. (ex..3) Example 3 Pu r c e l l , H. The Fairy Queen 58 , p. 198 For a detailed discussion of this bass l i n e see Whaples, p. 183. Although some authentic Chinese melodies were available to the European composer through the published accounts of Father Amiot's mission to China, the subtle music systems and melo-dies of China were never used i n European attempts at portrayal of Chinese music. Rather, s u p e r f i c i a l devices, such as i n -creased chromaticism, emphasis on the t h i r d r e l a t i o n , and use of minor keys became associated with the exotic music conven-tions of seventeenth and early eighteenth century European music. In the l a t e r eighteenth and early nineteenth century the convention of exotic music most often employed was "Turkish music" which emphasized the use of the t r i a n g l e , the bass-drum and cymbals. Gluck, i n his opera comique La rencontre  imprevue (1762), opens with a Turkish Overture, r e l y i n g on instrumental colour for i t s o r i e n t a l flavour and Mozart's opera Die Entfuhrung aus dem Seraglio (1782) i s set against an o r i e n t a l background i n a Turkish c a s t l e . Mozart uses the instrumentation meant to be reminiscent, of Turkish music i n the overture and, l a t e r i n the opera, in" two Janizary choruses. The piano sonata K. 331, has as i t s l a s t movement a Rondo a l i a Turca which r e l i e s on i t s r a t t l i n g ornaments and ostinato-l i k e bass l i n e for i t s exotic connotations, (ex. 4) Memoires sur l a Musique Chinois. 1799. 1 6 Example 4 Mozart, Rondo A l i a Turca, from Piano Sonata K. 331, 3rd movement Beethoven employed Turkish music i n his i n c i d e n t a l music The  Ruins of Athens (1811) i n a Turkish March and a Chorus of Dervishes; again, conventional instrumental usage was largely responsible for the musical exoticism. The attempts by C l a s s i c a l composers to introduce orien-talism into t h e i r operas or i n c i d e n t a l music was completely within the mould of chinoiserie i n the arts at a s i m i l a r h i s -t o r i c a l period. Orientalism i n music, as i n painting, a r c h i -tecture and t e x t i l e s represented the European v i s i o n of i n t e r -pretation of Asian concepts. The basic p r i n c i p l e s were imitated and then infused with elaborate or even grotesque fantasies to present an :'idealized v i s i o n of the Orient. With the de-c l i n e of i n t e r e s t i n Asia, and i t s subsequent r e v i v a l i n the late nineteenth century, a new, more r e a l i s t i c perception of non-European culture began to evolve. Along with this increased emphasis on authenticity, an independent art concept emerges through the process of assimilation. This process, which i s evident i n the music of Benjamin B r i t t e n , i n Curlew River, w i l l be: further examined i n subsequent pages. Japonaiserie i n the Nineteenth Century While i n t e r e s t i n Oriental art concepts never completely waned i n early nineteenth century Europe, Brighton P a v i l i o n represented a bench-mark of the s p e c i f i c kind of opulent and fa n t a s t i c passions for chinoiserie so widespread i n e a r l i e r years. As the nadir of e c l e c t i s i s m i n both i t s i n t e r i o r and exterior decoration, Brighton P a v i l i o n could not be bettered. After a period of disfavour, i n t e r e s t i n chinoiserie revived with new precepts to govern i t s nature. Accuracy of d e t a i l and s i m p l i c i t y of design became the important aspects of art objects: excessive ornamentation and decorations of a whimsical or fa n t a s t i c nature were unacceptable. Reaction against the excesses of e a r l i e r chinoiserie fostered an increased i n t e r e s t i n Japanese objects. An important h i s t o r i c a l event also brought Japan to Europe's notice at t h i s time.. The i s o l a t i o n p o l i c y long maintained by Japan ended i n 1853, when the American, Commodore Perry forced trading concessions from the reluctant Japanese. While Japanese porcelain and lacquer had been i n -f l u e n t i a l i n Europe since the sixteenth century, the new trade agreements made larger amounts of Japanese goods available i n Europe. Of a l l the wares exported from Japan, the woodblock print s had the most profound e f f e c t on European a r t . The composition and viewpoint of these pri n t s were s t a r t l i n g to people i n the west, as was the presence of such emphatic l i n e and silhouette. The Japanese techniques of diagonal or angular perspective, asymmetrical composition and colour-area meeting colour-area abruptly were soon adopted.by such a r t i s t s as Van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaugin and Whistler creating a new European art concept. The Japanese influences became so t o t a l l y absorbed into the French st y l e of painting at the end of the nineteenth century, that s p e c i f i c devices became d i f f i -c u l t to i s o l a t e . While the seventeenth and eighteenth century craftsmen tended to approach o r i e n t a l a rt concepts with a view to improving aspects through t h e i r own inter p r e t a t i o n , the nineteenth century a r t i s t had a far more receptive and humble approach. Drawn to o r i e n t a l a rt through the desire for sim- 1 p l i c i t y and authenticity, the l a t e r a r t i s t sought to master the e s s e n t i a l p r i n c i p l e s of Chinese, and, most p a r t i c u l a r l y , Japanese a r t . The competent use of these p r i n c i p l e s coupled with contemporary western idioms led to the development of a completely autonomous art s t y l e , free from the pastiche ten-dency of e a r l i e r c h i n o i s e r i e . The c u l t u r a l influence of the Orient became so absorbed into western art approaches that the concepts were complete and i r r e v e r s i b l e . Orientalism i n Nineteenth Century Music In keeping with the trend towards the authentic u t i l i z a -tion of Oriental attributes, the f i r s t production of G i l b e r t and Sullivan's The Mikado (1885) was meticulously accurate. Experts i n Japanese culture advised on the correct make-up, postures, walking and opening and closing a fan."''"'' In the music, there are some instances of orientalism, although generally i t i s western, English and Gilbe r t and S u l l i v a n . Audrey: Williamson. •. Gilber t and S u l l i v a n Opera, Rock c l i f f Publishing, London, 1953. p. 142. The orchestration of the Overture emphasizes the woodwinds and percussion, r e c a l l i n g sounds of t r a d i t i o n a l Japanese music. The male chorus which opens afte r the overture sings a melody based on a pentatonic scale, (ex.5) Example 5 Gil b e r t and Sullivan, The Mikado, Act I, Opening Chorus — r r i ffi. n i M l . 1 1 - H i — -- —*-f f f f f 1 P - PO-r\ —>-\ i ' 0 On Authentic usage of a Japanese musical idiom comes in Act II at the entrance of the Mikado. Here Su l l i v a n uses a bat t l e march of the Japanese Imperial Army from 186 8, employing both melody and words, (ex.6) 0 Example 6 Gi l b e r t and Sullivan, The Mikado, Act I I , Mikado's entrance \ 1 1 1 i- 1 I — * \ — \ — \ - M r o ? 4 r i 1 1 ' 1 '* ' ' 1 > 1 1 M l A * o -4 0 tt ) Pi.-*-*- fe-V*. — o These instances of orientalism, some more authentic than others, are l a r g e l y outweighed by the atmosphere of fantasy i n The 20 Mikado. The characters and setting are s u p e r f i c i a l l y Japanese, having i n essence l i t t l e to do with any r e a l s i t u a t i o n . The qual i t y of "Japanese-ness" i n The Mikado i s r e a l l y embroidery on a very English ambiance; the use of madrigals and glees i n the music, the l i b r e t t o (e.g. "Here's a pretty how-de-do," "Three l i t t l e maids" and "The flowers that bloom i n the spring") and the characterizations are completely within the t r a d i t i o n of English comic opera. Claude Debussy, i n his quest for an emancipation of the contemporary tonal system and i n his fascination for colour e f f e c t s was much taken with the Javanese gamelan orchestra which played d a i l y at the Paris World Exposition i n 1889. The percussive sounds and rhythmic complexities of t h i s exotic group drew Debussy back day a f t e r day to l i s t e n with other excited 12 admirers. Of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t to Debussy was the a b i l i t y of Javanese music "to express every shade of music, even un-mentionable shades, and which make our tonic and dominant seem 13 l i k e ghosts." The subtlety and nuance of the Indonesian ensemble i s evoked i n at le a s t three of Debussy's works: "Pagodes" from Estampes (1903), "Et l a lune descend sur l e temple qui f u t " from Images for Piano, Second Series (1907) and "La terrasse des audiences au c l a i r de lune" from Preludes, Book II (1910-1913). Innovative use of percussion and gong effects may be seen i n the following example: (ex.7) 12 Edward Lockspeiser. Debussy: His L i f e and Mind, Vol. I, 1862-1902. Cambridge University Press, 1962, p. 114. 13 Ibid., p. 115. 21 Example 7 Debussy, "Feux d 1 a r t i f i c e " , Preludes, Book II , p. 70 Debussy's in t e r e s t i n whole-tone and pentatonic scales may have resulted from his experiences either with the Javanese gamelan or with the Chinese t h e a t r i c a l troupe that was also i n Paris i n the 1890's. Debussy's scale structures are not Asian in the s t r i c t sense, nor are his colour e f f e c t s derived from the gamelan. The presence of these exotic elements i s tempered by Debussy's own sophisticated and creative s t y l e of composition 14 and becomes evocative rather than s p e c i f i c . Some in t e r e s t i n g points are raised i n an a r t i c l e en-t i t l e d "Pentatonicism i n Debussy's Music" by Constantin B r a i l o i u i n Studia Memoriae Bela Bartok Sacra, Budapest, 1956. Of p a r t i c u l a r note i s M. B r a i l o i u ' s discussion of treatment of the orchestra of La Mer as a gamelan s t y l i s e , p.423. \ 22 Giacomo Puccini, i n three operas containing non-western musical elements, strove for authenticity i n a more s p e c i f i c 15 way than Debussy. Two operas containing orientalisms, Madama Bu t t e r f l y (1904) and Turandot (1926) use.Japanese and Chinese musical idioms in some innovative ways. Often Puccini d i r e c t l y quotes an authentic Japanese or Chinese tune (four 16 melodies i n B u t t e r f l y and three i n Turandot). The following examples show one o r i g i n a l tune and i t s implementation i n Madama Bu t t e r f l y , (ex. 8,9) Example 8 "Ninon-Bashi", from Nippon Gakufu, ed. Die t r i c h , Leipzig, 1894 p* (If f C M U { C I It f\ ] ff I J*1 j l i JMosco Carner i n his a r t i c l e , "The Exotic Element i n Puccini" in The Musical Quarterly, XXII, (1936), pp.45-67, con-siders that the G i r l of the Golden West (1910) contains Orientalisms. Due, however, to the more s p e c i f i c d e f i n i t i o n of "orientalism" i n thi s thesis, I have chosen to exclude t h i s example. 16 1 Mosco Carner i n his book Puccini (1910) and i n an e a r l i e r a r t i c l e "The Exotic Element i n Puccini" discusses Puccini's u t i l i z a t i o n of o r i g i n a l Japanese and Chinese melodies at length. 23 Example 9 Puccini, Madama But t e r f l y, Act I, nine measures a f t e r 87 (Le amiche fcstcffirlano Butterfly, ehe ne bacla qualcuna: intanlo PUfftclalo dcllo Siato Civile ritira I'allo e lo a lire carte, poi avrerte II CommlB*»rlo Imperlale ehe tulto e flnito). Viol. V-lc animando rail, f Secondly, Puccini removes motives from authentic melodies and either varies them or f i t s them together into a new melodic curve based on a pentatonic scale system. An excellent example of t h i s assimilation of non-western elements into a new, and personal statement can be.seen i n the Boys' Chorus i n Turandot, Act I, m. 19. Here Puccini uses motives from a Chinese Imperial 17 Hymn and a Confucian hymn, combining and extending the frag-ments into an organic whole. The flavour throughout these new melodies i s pentatonic owing to the o r i g i n of the passages. However, these pentatonic melodies are harmonized i n t r a d i t i o n a l western methods, with the occasional addition of some "exotic" c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s such as a drone bass, or an ostinato pattern used i n a harmonic sense. P a r a l l e l chords i n B u t t e r f l y and Turandot are prominent 17 Mosco Carner, "The Exotic Element i n Puccini", pg.53. also. Puccini had consulted recordings and some transcriptions 18 before writing these two operas and. had c l e a r l y interpreted what he heard as a harmonic manifestation. The fac t that Chinese and Japanese music have no harmonic basis but are monophonic systems, obviously did not concern Puccini who translated ornamentations and fixed tones as harmony. Other exotic touches such as polyrhythms and, esp e c i a l l y , instrumentation give further o r i e n t a l flavour to P u c c i n i 1 s scores. Polyrhythms reminiscent of the Javanese gamelan orchestra, Chinese and Japanese percussion instruments, and unusual combinations of groups and timbre heighten the exotic impressions made by the subject matter of the operas. Puccini's usage of o r i e n t a l idioms i s innovative and successful; his attempts at authenticity are only hampered by the contem-porary state of knowledge of the Orient. His purpose was not to imitate Oriental music, but to assimilate concepts into his own personal statement. This process resulted i n an in d i v i d u a l and independent style of composition, a process that Benjamin B r i t t e n also used i n Curlew River. Summary > . From the foregoing discussion of orientalism i n the arts, some general observations can be made. Early impressions of the Orient were larg e l y based on t r a v e l l e r s ' t a l e s which were usually a generous mixture of fact and f i c t i o n . From these stories and a few genuine a r t facts, a v i s i o n of the Orient became firmly established i n the European mind. Using t h i s Ibid., pg.46. v i s i o n as a basis, an imitative process began i n the arts which f i r s t t r i e d to copy, i n European terms, the fundamentals seen i n Oriental objects - colours, lacquer techniques, tex-t i l e manufacturing, and pottery glazes. In music, masques and b a l l e t s included Oriental scenes which r e l i e d mainly on costuming and set design for exotic touches, but which also had a few attempts at imitation i n musical terms. With st y l e changes throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a more capricious and fa n t a s t i c elegance became sought a f t e r ; the European v i s i o n of the Orient became more di s t o r t e d . This was r e f l e c t e d i n the "Turkish" music, of the eighteenth century, music which had l i t t l e r e a l connection with Turkish music, but rather r e l i e d on the European musical conventions of the day for i t s Turkish connotation. In the nineteenth century, with the expansion of p o l i t i c a l horizons, a clearer view of the Orient became available; as a consequence, authenticity was highly desireable i n painting, the decorative,arts and music. With an emphasis on s i m p l i c i t y and l i n e , nineteenth century painters adapted Japanese wood-block techniques, assimilating them into an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t and independent a rt s t y l e . Some composers u t i l i z e d authentic Oriental melodies, i n s t r u -ments, scales and words i n th e i r works. Romantic opera was the most usual vehicle for t h i s increased i n t e r e s t i n China and Japan, while orchestral and piano music of the Impression-i s t s contained many effects and devices influenced by the Javanese gamelan orchestra. The actual authenticity of techniques was tempered by the in d i v i d u a l s t y l e of the a r t i s t , who was attempting to expand the horizons of his own a r t form rather than to imitate exactly the a r t i s t i c concepts of the East. This same s p i r i t i s perpetuated i n the twentieth cen-tury by many composers and a r t i s t s ; Benjamin Britten's Curlew  River provides r i c h material for a detailed inquiry into the changing and expanding role of orientalism. CHAPTER II DRAMATIC AND FORMAL ELEMENTS; ASSOCIATION WITH JAPANESE NOH-DRAMA The dramatic elements of Britten's Curlew River c l o s e l y follow those of i t s Japanese prototype Sumidagawa. The l i b r e t t o from the Japanese Noh-drama has been adapted by William Plomer, with great respect for the o r i g i n a l characters, language, and atmosphere of the play. In many parts the t r a n s l a t i o n 1 and Plomer*s adaptation coincide almost word-for-word. (ex.1) Example 1 Sumidagawa FERRYMAN: They are holding a solemn memorial service con-nected with a sad t a l e which I s h a l l t e l l you while the boat i s crossing to the other side. I t happened l a s t year, on the f i f t e e n t h of the t h i r d month; yes, and t h i s i s the very day on which i t happened. A slave-trader was on his way to the North-east, taking along with him a boy he had bought - a tender lad some twelve years old. Wearied out by the unaccustomed hardships of the road, the boy was seized with a mortal i l l -ness. He was so weak, he said he could not drag himself a step further, and lay down on Curlew River FERRYMAN: (stopping poling) Today i s an important day, the people are assembling i n memory of a sad event. I w i l l t e l l you the story. I t happened on t h i s very day a year ago. There was a stranger i n my boat, a Northman, a foreigner, a big man armed with a sword and a cudgel. He was on his way to take ship to the North-land, (poles once) And not alone. There was a boy with him, a gentle boy, twelve years old maybe, and a C h r i s t i a n The Heathen said he'd bought him as a slave. The boy said nothing. I The tr a n s l a t i o n used for the purposes of t h i s thesis i found i n Japanese Noh Drama, 3 Vols, prepared by the Japanese Class i c s Translation Committee and special Noh committee of the Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai. Tokyo, 1955-1960. 28 men there are i n t h i s world! The slaver abandoned the boy by the roadside and went on his way. the bank. What heartless could see he was i l l — unused to t r a v e l l i n g rough, (poles once) Poor c h i l d . When we had crossed the r i v e r , he said he was too weak to walk, and down he lay on the grass near the chapel. (poles once) The Heathen threatened him, swore at him, struck him. He was a man without a heart, and we feared he would k i l l the boy, but » he l e f t the boy where he was, and went on his way. Xpoles twice) The setting, however, i s a major change from the o r i g i n a l Noh-drama to Britten's church parable: t h i s change from medieval Japan to medieval England allows an extra dramatic dimension to be added, that of the medieval mystery play. The chorus of monks, led by an Abbot, i s an element borrowed from the morality play and used so e f f e c t i v e l y by B r i t t e n , not only i n a t r a d i t i o n a l d i d a c t i c r o l e , but as commentators on and guides to the play's action. Most of the chorus's dialogue i s added to the o r i g i n a l story l i n e , a f a c t which expands the importance of the role of the chorus and gives a d i f f e r e n t dramatic balance to Curlew River. The chorus becomes the point of contact between the audience and the major characters, making Curlew River a more accessible vehicle to a Western audience than i t s Noh-drama counterpart. The highly s t y l i z e d and restrained atmosphere of the Noh i s d i l u t e d by the use of the chorus i n Curlew River which steps back and fort h from i t s ro l e as commentator to being part of the cast as pilgrims. The chorus supplies background facts for the audience as well as r e l i g i o u s a l l u s i o n s and teachings. Because of the i n -creased r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and functions of the Chorus i n Curlew  River, the group becomes one of the focal points of the parable. The opening exhortation section sung by the chorus of the Abbot and Monks i n Curlew River has no counterpart i n the o r i g i n a l l i b r e t t o . An introductory section such as t h i s i s unnecessary i n a Noh-drama l i b r e t t o , as i t i s generally assumed that the playgoer i s familiar, with the basic themes and subsequent 2 c o n f l i c t s of the Noh-drama repertoire. The p a r t i c u l a r l y s t a t i c q u a l i t y of the Noh-drama, stemming from i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to Zen Buddhism, can be a d i f f i c u l t 3 b a r r i e r to the Western Audience; therefore, i n Curlew River, the dramatic action i s i n t e n s i f i e d through an expansion of l i b r e t t o throughout the parable. A look at a section of the two dramas, side by side w i l l c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e t h i s change, (ex. 2) 2 While over two hundred Noh-dramas are known to ex i s t , there are only f i v e basic kinds of Noh; these plays involve either the figure of a god, a warrior, a woman, a madwoman (or other designated miscellaneous characters) and a d e v i l . 3 This r e l a t i o n s h i p i s explained i n the th e o r e t i c a l writings of Zeami (1363-1443). His work The Twenty-Three  Treatises of Zeami explains that contemplation, inner t r a n q u i l i t y and ascetic s i m p l i c i t y , so important to Zen Buddhism are very i n f l u e n t i a l on the Noh-drama. As a consequence, an immensely subtle art-form evolves, dependent upon implication, symbolism, arid economy of means. 30 Example 2 Sumidagawa Curlew River TRAVELLER: It i s a crazy woman from Miyako and people are amused by her mad dancing. FERRYMAN: Then I w i l l delay the ferry-boat for a while and wait for the mad creature. (The voice of the madwoman i s heard off) MADWOMAN: You mock me, you ask me whither I go, whither I go FERRYMAN: May I ask, did you see who i t i s that i s singing? MADWOMAN: You mock me! You ask me! How should I, how should I know? TRAVELLER: Yes, the people were watching a woman i n the road who seems to be crazy. They say she comes from the Black Mountain. MADWOMAN: Where the nest of the curlew i s not f i l l e d with snow, where the eyes of the lamb are untorn by the crow, the carrion crow. TRAVELLER: The people were amused when they heard her singing they a l l began laughing. MADWOMAN: There l e t me, there l e t me go! TRAVELLER: (as the Madwoman comes into view) She i s coming t h i s way. FERRYMAN: I w i l l delay the ferry-boat. I w i l l wait for the mad-woman . MADWOMAN: (her voice cutting i n on the Ferryman's) Let me i n ! FERRYMAN: I should l i k e to see her. MADWOMAN: Let me out! T e l l me the, t e l l me the way! 31 FERRYMAN, TRAVELLER, ABBOT, PILGRIMS: (Chattering f r e e l y i n two parts, but i n an undertone) She i s coming t h i s way! We w i l l wait for the madwoman. MADWOMAN: Let me i n ! Let me out! How can you, how can you say... FERRYMAN, TRAVELLER, ABBOT, PILGRIMS: (as before) We w i l l delay the f e r r y -boat! We wish to see her. MADWOMAN: ...why thepoint of an arrow divideth the day? Why to l i v e i s to warm .an image of clay dark as the day? This change shows d i f f e r i n g aspects of dramatic in t e n s i t y , concepts of in d i v i d u a l roles and merging of two c u l t u r a l i d e a l s . F i r s t , i t should be r e a l i z e d that the actual time lapse for the performance of the example of Sumidagawa would be at le a s t as long and probably considerably longer than the performance of thi s part of Curlew River. Vocal l i n e s i n the Noh-drama are greatly extended, often highly ornamented and repeated. Move-ment i s slow and studied; a single simple gesture alludes to a complex concept or action. The emphasis i n the Noh on the significance of the single movement as i t i s expressed in restrained musical, dramatic and l i t e r a r y terms i s a basic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the Noh. The s t r i v i n g for economy of a r t i s t i c means in the Noh re s u l t s i n a highly integrated a r t form which r e l i e s heavily on, l i t e r a r y and dramatic a l l u s i o n . 4 The c u l t u r a l importance of r e s t r a i n t and a l l u s i o n i s not as great i n European dramatic works, and Britten's church parable tends to be e x p l i c i t and straightforward i n dramatic intent. So while the p l o t and characters from Sumidagawa are trans-posed almost l i t e r a l l y to Curlew River, the treatment of the l i b r e t t o i n the church parable accounts, to a large degree, for the increased a c t i v i t y onstage. . In two s p e c i f i c instances, an int e r e s t i n g and noteworthy . amalgam of c u l t u r a l ideals occurs, creating an o r i g i n a l dramatic concept. The two instances concern the staging -stage and set design, costumes and actions - and the o v e r a l l dramatic structure of the play. The f i r s t aspect i s one of v i s u a l a t t r i b u t e , which, when studying the two works, becomes the most obvious basis for comparison. B r i t t e n was c l e a r l y struck by the s i m p l i c i t y of the Japanese Noh-drama stage which consists of a highly polished wooden area b u i l t out into the audience section, surrounded by narrow s t r i p of pebbles. The entrance to the stage i s a covered bridge over which pass the actors. The stage i t s e l f i s usually bare, decorated only with a painted s t y l i z e d pinetree as a backdrop. The Curlew River stage set evokes the sparseness of the Noh stage; three concentric c i r c u l a r areas of d i f f e r e n t polished woods form the The a r t of a l l u s i o n i n a l l aspects of the Noh -l i t e r a r y , dramatic, musical, and decorative - was highly re-fined and designed to appeal to the l i t e r a t i and educated nobl i n the audience. stage area, with two crossed poles, representing the mast and crossbar of the ship being the single decoration. The outer and largest c i r c l e begins as a ramp from the offstage area; the steps up to t h i s ramp are screened from the audience by a "masking screen". This screened area before the ramp i s similar to the "mirror room" of the Noh drama, where the prep-aration r i t u a l for actors and musicians takes place. The outer ramp of graduated steps terminates i n a seating area for the musicians. The middle c i r c l e i s the main stage, used as the boat; the raised inner c i r c l e made of highly polished wood i s used only by the three protagonists and the Abbot and i s used to represent the shore. The heavy carved wooden canopy that t r a d i t i o n a l l y covers the Noh stage i s not present i n the stage plans for Curlew River; t h i s i s probably a deliberate omission. The Noh stage i s c a r e f u l l y preserved as a separate domain from the audience i n order that the performance may transcend the immediacy of the surroundings to create a solemn and almost mystical experience. The gravelled area, formerly where "groundlings" sat between the nobles and the stage, and the huge wooden carved roof serve to keep the stage a rather mysterious and remote distance from the Noh audience. Curlew River depends far more on audience involvement i n the unfolding of the drama; the chorus, as seen e a r l i e r , i s the primary instrument i n t h i s i n t e r a c t i o n . The a c c e s s i b i l i t y of the chorus to the audience i s enhanced by the proximity of the stage to the audience. The stage, i n i t s c i r c u l a r form, allows a kind of dramatic action in-the-round, with the principals playing to various sides of the c i rc l e as points 5 of the compass. Further, the f i r s t entry of the company begins with a procession up the main ais le of the church, a familiar experience to the churchgoer; the stage is approached by proceeding through the audience (or congregation) to ascend the stage from downstage rather than from backstage. With the general idea of the Noh stage in mind, the observer can appreciate the s imi lar i t ies in staging the two productions; but, more importantly, the strong cultural aspects of the medieval mystery play and subsequent European drama are deftly incorporated into the Asian model to create a unique form. While the spectator is presented with the unfamiliar Noh theatrical conventions, he can easily accept the concept, as i t is tempered with dramatic conventions of his own culture. The solemnity and restraint so characteristic of the Noh-drama is present in Curlew River, but the remote, r i t u a l quality is lessened by specif ical ly European dramatic devices. The amalgamation of staging principles discussed here is only one of many cultural exchanges that w i l l be found in Britten's Curlew River. Costuming directions for Curlew River are quite specif ic . While the company a l l wears a medieval rel igious habit, the three protagonists use the under-cassock as the basis for Colin Graham. Production Notes and Remarks on the  Style of Performing Curlew River, part of Rehearsal Score of Curlew River, p.4. t h e i r costume and adorn i t with additional "ceremonial" robes. The use of the word "ceremonial" i n the production notes i s in t e r e s t i n g as i t suggests the kind of symbolic robes worn i n the Noh-drama by s p e c i f i c characters. And indeed, i f one compares the relevant drawings and d e t a i l s of costuming for the two kinds of play, one i s struck by the Noh-drama symbolism present i n the Curlew River costumes, ( f i g . 1,2,3) The examples are taken from the production notes of Curlew River, and from Keene's No, the C l a s s i c a l Theatre of Japan. The Curlew River costumes never look Japanese, but the costuming p r i n c i p l e s are the same; a p l a i n undergown with an outer robe i s worn to symbolize the character's dignity and function i n the play.^ Masks are also worn by the three protagonists i n Britten's parable; the use of masks i s d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t a b l e to the Noh-drama and i s i n f l u e n t i a l i n imparting the qu a l i t y of solemn r i t u a l evident i n Curlew River. The protagonists are unable to express emotion with t h e i r eyes or faces and must r e l y on symbolic gestures to represent t h e i r emotions. The hands, head or body are used i n c e r t a i n r i t u a l i s t i c gestures throughout the parable i n carefully-rehearsed and formal move-ments. The masks and the r i t u a l i s t i c acting they impose serve to remove the main characters from the more functional m i l i e u of the Abbot and the monks, creating another i n t e r e s t i n g juxtaposition of Eastern and Western c u l t u r a l i d e a l s . The S p e c i f i c colours and styles of headgear, sashes, cloaks and undergowns are used i n the Noh to depict a character 1 station or function i n l i f e . Broadly speaking, much of t h i s symbolism i s present i n the costuming for Curlew River. 36 Costume Examples Noh-drama Curlew River ) Figure 1 Man dressed for working Ferryman Mizugoromo (cloak) worn over Kimono Figure 2 Mad woman or woman dressed Madwoman for working karaori (kimono); ordinary female mask Figure 3 Man. i n traveling clothes T r a v e l l e r suo (cloak); okuchi (skirt) 37 staging of Curlew River and a l l that i s involved i n that function - the s t y l e of the stage plan, the costuming and actions - i s meticulously outlined i n the Production Notes. An i n t e r e s t i n g note to consider, i n l i g h t of the previous discussion, i s C o l i n Graham's d i r e c t i o n that Curlew River "although suggested by the Japanese No theatre, created a 7 convention of movement and presentation of i t s own." With the wealth of c u l t u r a l d e t a i l involved i n the production, amal-gamated from two d i f f e r i n g t h e a t r i c a l conventions, Curlew  River i s a remarkable example of the u t i l i z a t i o n of already successful techniques into an innovative and unique a r t form. One of the most complex aspects of Britten's church parable i s the dramatic structure of Curlew River, and how i t coincides with the structure of Sumidagawa. At f i r s t glance, i t i s apparent that the l i b r e t t o for Curlew River i s d i r e c t l y evolved from Sumidagawa, often being reproduced word-for-word. With th i s fact i n mind, i t would also seem apparent that the o v e r a l l dramatic structure and dramatic intent could coincide in the two works. What i s not as r e a d i l y apparent, however, i s the q u a l i t y of saturation of Noh-drama techniques inherent i n Curlew River. In order to examine t h i s phenomenon, a basic review of dramatic structure i n the Noh i s necessary. The dramatic c r i t e r i a of the Noh d i f f e r s greatly from t r a d i t i o n a l Western dramatic expectations. There i s no c o n f l i c t 7P. 3 . 38 involved between characters, only a protagonist with some secondary characters who observe the action. No d i s t i n c t i v e personality or f i n e l y drawn character evolves from the pro-tagonist. Rather the main actor or the shite represents a powerful emotion such as jealousy, remorse or unforgiving emnity. The waki, or secondary actor, and any tsure (com-panions to the shite) merely mirror any concerns the audience may have; that i s , they elucidate by questioning or by explana-tion certain actions or events concerning the s h i t e . Physical action, as has been previously discussed, i s l i m i t e d to formal and symbolic gestures. The dance sections of a Noh-drama are r a r e l y a t h l e t i c and contain no flamboyant steps; rather, the movements express the texts i n a d i g n i f i e d and assured manner, epitomizing an emotion i n symbolic communication. The inc l u s i o n of music i n the Noh-drama would suggest to a Westerner an operatic concept, but t h i s idea would be misleading. While the music of the Noh i s absolutely necessary, and a v i t a l part of the whole production, i t i s so integrated into the drama that to consider the music independently from the text i s impossible. The music, whether vocal or instrumental, i s > completely bound to the text and together forms a unitT which cannot be broken to be performed independently. For study purposes, of course, texts can be examined as l i t e r a t u r e , and melodic and rhythmic c e l l s can be analyzed, but the music i s through-composed and springs completely from the text; thus, no operatic concept of drama as music exists i n the Noh-drama. The Noh-drama has therefore been defined., as "a dramatic poem concerned with remote or supernatural events, performed by a dancer, often masked, who shares with lesser personages and 8 a chorus the singing and declamation of the poetry. The Noh-drama l i b r e t t o i s divided into three main parts which dictate the s t y l e of music and poetry to be used. These three sections - jjo, ha and kyu r e l a t e to philosophical and s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s found i n other types of Japanese music as well. The function of the jo_ section i s introductory, the ha section i s the middle and major section, and the kyu section i s a c l o s i n g section. The sections can be viewed i n both l i t e r a r y and musical terms as a s h i f t from a quiet and slow mood, to a mood of i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n , to a dramatically 9 short and musically swift c l o s i n g section. The three sections are further divided into dan,, one dan i n the j°. section, generally three dan i n the ha section, and a f i n a l dan i n the kyu section. The dan i n each of the sections must contain a prescribed type of l i t e r a r y dramatic and musical content. The structure and musical s t y l e of the Noh-drama are discussed at length i n a r t i c l e s by Minawaga^ and T e e l e . A n extremely eDonald Keene. No, the C l a s s i c a l Theatre of Japan, Tokyo, 1966. p.25. 9 Professor Roy Teele points out i n a paper e n t i t l e d "The Structure of the Japanese Noh Play" that the ha section should not be viewed as a development section where the com-pl e x i t y of the play increases. ^Tatsuo Minawaga.- "Japanese Noh Music", Journal of  the American Musicological Society X, 1957. pp.181-200. 1 1Roy Teele. "The Structure of the Japanese Noh Play" i n Chinese and Japanese Music-Dramas, 1975. p. 189. 40 useful table from Minawaga's a r t i c l e can be reproduced here o u t l i n i n g the construction and musical st y l e of a t y p i c a l Noh-drama. Table I (Before the beginning of the Noh proper: Entrance of chorus and instrumentalists) I. F i r s t Part A. Entrance of the second actor (waki) and his attendants 1. Entrance music (Shidai, I s s e i , or Nanori-Bue) by instrumentalists 2. Entrance song (Shidai or Issei) of the second actor and his attendants (omitted i f Nanori-Bue i s played as item 1) Shidai i n fixed-rhythm, higher melodic st y l e poem of two lw-syllable l i n e s followed by a l i n e of 11 s y l l a b l e s , each with a caesura a f t e r the seventh s y l l a b l e ; simple, without r i c h ornamentation; repeated by chorus i n low voice or Is s e i i n free-rhythm, r i c h melodic s t y l e ; poem consisting of a 17-syllable l i n e , with caesuras a f t e r s y l l a b l e s 5 and 7, and a 12-syllable l i n e , with a caesura a f t e r s y l l a b l e 7. 3. Self-introduction (Nanori) by the second actor; in speech st y l e 4. Travel song (Michi-Yuki)of the second actor and his attendants; i n fixed rhythm, higher melodic s t y l e 5. A r r i v a l of the second actor at a certain place (Tsuki-Zerifu); i n speech s t y l e B. Entrance of the f i r s t actor (shite) and his'attendants 1. Entrance music (Issei or Shidai) by instrumenta-l i s t s 2. Entrance song (Issei or Shidai or Yobi-Kake) of the f i r s t actor and his attendant v I s s e i i n free-rhythm, r i c h melodic st y l e ( c f . l A 2 or Shidai i n fixed-rhythm, higher melodic st y l e (cf. 1 A 2) or Yobi-Kake, a c a l l from the distance i n speech sty l e 41 3. T r i - s e c t i o n a l descriptive or l y r i c a l passage for the f i r s t actor and his attendants Recitative (Sashi) Song i n low pit c h (Sage-Uta; pronounced Sahgay, etc.) in fixed-rhythm, lower melodic s t y l e ; usually 2 to 3 l i n e s Song i n high p i t c h (age-Uta) i n fixed-rhythm, higher melodic sty l e ; usually i n 5 to 8 l i n e s C. Dialogue between the f i r s t and second actors Dialogue (Mondi) i n speech s t y l e Narrative (Katari) i n speech style Preliminary Recitative (Kakari) Recitative (Sashi) (cf. 1 B 3) Reading of a l e t t e r (Fumi) in r e c i t a t i v e s t y l e ; usually i n Yowa Lament (Kudoki) i n r e c i t a t i v e s t y l e ; i n Yowa; begins on Chu (Middle) D. Explanation and development of the subject by the f i r s t actor and chorus Sage-Uta i n fixed-rhythm, lower melodic s t y l e (cf.1 B 3) Age-Uta i n fixed rhythm, higher melodic s t y l e (cf.1 B 3) Shidai i n fixed-rhythm, higher melodic s t y l e (cf.1 A 2) Kuri i n free-rhythm, r i c h melodic s t y l e ; frequent use of the pattern named Kuri, ends i n Ge (Low) through Hon-Yuri cadence Sashi (cf. 1 B 3) Kuse (name borrowed from a pre-Noh dance); consists of three sections, the f i r s t and second being i n fixed-rhythm, lower melodic st y l e , and the t h i r d being i n fixed-rhythm, higher melodic sty l e ; except for the f i r s t l i n e of the t h i r d section, sung by chorus E. The close of the f i r s t section: dialogue between the f i r s t actor and chorus Discussion (Rongi) i n fixed-rhythm, higher melodic st y l e ; i n response form F. Instrumental e x i t music (Rai-Jo or Haya-Tsuzumi, etc.) of the f i r s t actor and his attendants II. Interlude (Ai-Kyogen) Dialogue between the second actor and the comedian; new explanation of the same subject by the comedian; i n speech s t y l e 42 III Second Part A. Waiting song (Machi-Utai) of the second actor and his attendants i n expectation of the reappearance of the f i r s t actor; i n fixed-rhythm, higher melodic s t y l e B. Reappearance of the f i r s t actor 1. Entrance music by instrumentalists (Issei, Deha, Sagariha, Haya-Fue, or Obuti, etc.) 2. Entrance song (Issei) of the f i r s t actor; i n free-rhythm, r i c h melodic s t y l e (cf. 1 A 2) C. Dialogue of the f i r s t actor, second actor and chorus D. Dance by the f i r s t actor to instrumental music (Mai, Gaku, or Hataraki-Gote, etc.) E. Conclusion (Nori-Ji , K i r i , or Chu-Nori-Ji) N o r i - J i i n 0-Nori rhythm; usually employed i f the play deals with the supernatural, but not with warriors; c o l o r f u l melodic contours or K i r i i n Hira-Nori rhythm; usually employed i f the play deals neither with the supernatural nor with warriors or Chu-Nori-Ji i n Chu-Nori rhythm; usually employed i f the play deals with warriors (After the conclusion of the Noh proper: E x i t of the f i r s t actor E x i t of the second actor, chorus and instrumentalists) With the construction of the Noh-drama i n mind, i t i s revealing to study the construction of Curlew River. What becomes appar-ent i s that not only has B r i t t e n adopted the o v e r a l l t r i p a r t i t e construction (jo-ha-kyu) and the f i v e smaller d i v i s i o n s (dan), but, as often as possible the components of musical s t y l e are comparable. The musical s t y l e of Curlew River i s , of course, Western and, more importantly, completely Britten's, but i n aspects such as the use of r e c i t a t i v e , fixed rhythms, i n s t r u -mental interludes, songs containing speech elements or melodic elements and t e s s i t u r a , there i s regular coincidence i n the two plays. A table denoting these coincidences follows: TABLE II Coincidence of Non-drama Structure and Curlew River. Noh Structure and musical type Character Bar No. Dramatic and Musical Characteristics Chorus ( l j Chart - Te Lucis-Processional-Abbot Chorus 1 4 instrumentalists to places Address to audience (congregation) Prologue -Exhortation to congregation Mystery Play JO 1st dan Orchestra (3 ) Te Lucis Fantasy: general entrance music -chorus prepares for the play nanori Ferryman (waki) 8 Entrance music - chromatic motif - secondary actor Self-introduction - in speech style shidai T r a v e l l e r (waki-tzure) 13 Entrance music - fixed rhythm - "trudging": motif J - melodic style nanori 14 Self-introduction -michi-y.uki Travel song - fixed rhythm - melodic s t y l e t z u k i - z e r i f u 17 A r r i v a l at ferry Bar numbers are written i n two ways; either they are enclosed in a square box, which i s Britten's numbering system, or they are enclosed in a c i r c l e , which i s Colin Graham's system for production purposes. Both systems are used i n this table. O J Noh Structure and musical type Character • Bar No, HA 2nd dan Madwoman (shite) i s s e i  yobi-kake sashi sageuta Chorus kakeri dance Madwoman sageuta Chorus 19 20 21 26 27 30 Dramatic and Musical Characteristics Entrance music - f i r s t actor Entrance song - c a l l from distance speech style - jagged leaps characterizes madness Appearance of Madwoman Tri - s e c t i o n a l passage a) r e c i t a t i v e b) song - fixed rhythm - lower melodic style (simple) "She Wanders Raving" - low tessitura interrupts song c) continuation of song, ostinato accompaniment, low tessitura, simple melodic s t y l e . Noh Structure and musical type Character Bar No. 3rd dan ka t a r i  sageuta  kakari  mondo sashi kudoki Madwoman Chorus Trav e l l e r Ferryman Madwoman Madwoman shidai Ferryman 33 37 39 4 5 *46 i i 4 9 "571 Dramatic and Musical Characteristics narrative i n speech style "Near the Black Mountains return of 26 preliminary r e c i t a t i v e dialogue between f i r s t and second actor r e c i t a t i v e "Ignorant Man" lament - 3 part structure "Birds of the Fenland" - A - l y r i c a l , fixed accompaniment pattern - B - contrasting, short phrases, jagged leaps - dialogue - A - return of l y r i c i s m , canonic choral treatment - Coda - chorus - return of secondary actors motif and entrance song. Noh Structure and musical type Character Bar No 4th dan hayashi interlude 55 sageuta Chorus 56 shidai Ferryman 58 sageuta  sashi  mondo kuri Chorus Ferryman Madwoman Ferryman Madwoman 69 70 72 75 rongi mondo Ferryman Tr a v e l l e r Chorus Chorus Ferryman Tr a v e l l e r Madwoman Ferryman Madwoman 79 80 81 "86" Dramatic and Musical Characteristics song (a) low pitch - register (b) higher melodic style (c) fixed rhythm (accompaniment figure) explanation of subject matter (a) fixed rhythm (accompaniment figure) (b) higher melodic style —^ ,(c) repeated by chorus i n low voice-d.32 136) (.38) return of choral song r e c i t a t i v e dialogue between f i r s t and second actors a r i a - three part high point of play highest note of play discussion - speech style - Ferryman, T r a v e l l e r - melodic style Chorus t r a n s i t i o n to closing of section closing discussion between f i r s t actor and chorus - canonic exchange - melodic style - Ferryman, Traveller, Chorus r e c i t a t i v e - Madwoman - return of dialogue between 1st and second actors - speech style Noh Structure and musical type Character Bar No, Dramatic and Musical Characteristics KYU 5th dan machi-uta i s s e i mai n o r i - j i k i r i Chorus Ferryman Trav e l l e r 87 Abbot & Chorus! Ferryman Trav e l l e r S p i r i t S p i r i t S p i r i t Chorus 88 90 94 96 - t r a n s i t i o n to waiting song - melodic style waiting song - "Custodes Hominum" [medieval mystery play]. decorated by r e c i t a t i v e patterns from Ferryman and Chorus. and "Curlew" motif from Madwoman - entrance music for S p i r i t - f l u t e — - entrance song - combined with dialogue between 1st and 2nd actors and chorus - dance of s p i r i t to instrumental music thematic material from "Clear as a Sky" - f i n a l high range song - c o l o r f u l melodic contours 27 - choral "Amen" Orchestra Abbot Chorus Chorus 97 98 l o d Te Lucis Fantasy: e x i t music for protagonists Address to congregation - speech st y l e Exhortation to congregation Recessional - Te Lucis - chant - Monks - Orchestral e x i t . Epilogue -medieval mystery play In interpreting Table II , three factors must be examined; these include the framework of Curlew River, the role of the Chorus, and the treatment of the formal structure of the Noh-drama. The framework of Curlew River, that is the prologue and epilogue, is the most specific manifestation of the medieval mystery play in the church parable. While the Abbot and the chorus of Monks regularly appear throughout the parable, their most purposeful role is found in the opening and closing of the drama. The introduction of the mystery play aspect is not complex, as i t is constructed in a simple arch form. The structure of the prologue and the epilogue is very s imilar, although reversed; the Christian intent of the Abbot and Monks is evident in their use of ancient chant and in their exhor-tation to the congregation. The use of the orchestra, both musically and dramatically, at bars ( lo ) and 9 7 provides the l ink between the morality play and the Noh-drama, through the transforming of the procession of monks into actors and members of the hayashi ensemble (the Noh orchestra). Within the framework of the prologue and epilogue, the church parable proceeds systematically through the Noh-drama structure. How-ever, this structure is so effectively integrated into Western musical idioms that i t is only close scrutiny which reveals Britten's formal principles . The Chorus has a more important role in Curlew River than the chorus in the Noh-drama. The Noh chorus takes no part in the action of the play and has no identity; i t exists merely to r e c i t e for the actors, p a r t i c u l a r l y when they are dancing. The chorus i n Britten's parable, however, acts as an interpreter for or an intermediary between the audience and the protagonists. They constantly explain the setting "Between two kingdoms" (bar ), r e i t e r a t e a character's purpose "Far, far northward he ) ^ .reinforce cl i m a c t i c moments "She was his must go" (bar mother" (bar boat" (bar 1 5 74 ) or action "Ah, Ferryman, row your ferry As well as t h e i r supportive role i n the drama, the chorus often emerges to take a major musical role, singing such important musical sections as "She Wanders Raving" ) and the largest choral (bar 26 30 ), "Dew on the Grass" (bar section "The moon i s ri s e n " followed by "Custodes hominum" f f g . ) . The Curlew River chorus has a viable existence (bar 87 i n the church parable, p r o p e l l i n g the action by musical means; this operatic usage of the chorus i s , of course, e n t i r e l y Western i n i t s concept. By far the most complex factor i n the dramatic structure of Curlew River i s the extent to which Benjamin B r i t t e n uses the formal structure of the Noh-drama. Not only does the church parable coincide s t r u c t u r a l l y with the Noh-drama in the large d i v i s i o n s of jo-ha-kyu, but i t follows f a s t i d i o u s l y the more detailed formal aspects as w e l l . Using the Minawaga table, i t i s possible to divide Curlew River into the f i v e dan found i n a Noh-drama, and further, to match characters and t h e i r s p e c i f i c song types. While much of this coincidence i s a factor of the l i b r e t t o and the actions i n which a s p e c i f i c character i s engaged, other s i m i l a r i t i e s show B r i t t e n to be more than 50 merely i n t u i t i v e about the Noh-drama musical idioms. An i l l u s -t r a t i o n of the ingenious methods of Britten's integration of two cultures' musical idioms may be seen beginning with the entrance of the Madwoman or the shite (Noh-drama f i r s t actor). The f i r s t i n d i c a t i o n of the Madwoman's presence comes at 19 with a f l u t e motif; the ha section and the second dan also begin at t h i s point. The Madwoman then sings her entrance song (yobi-kake) from offstage which i s based on the f l u t e motif with the addition of a jagged t r i t o n e leap. Her entrance song i s i n a speech s t y l e , her madness proclaimed by the a l -ternate leaping tritones and the agitated inward-turning f l u t e motif. With the onstage appearance of the Madwoman at 21 the entrance song i s repeated as an extended second stanza. This extension, effected by r e p e t i t i o n of phrases, changes the musical emphasis from loosely organized phrases to the more deliberate r e c i t a t i v e which precedes the choral song at and 26 3 0 . The f i r s t section of the choral song "She wanders raving -" i s very short, i n a low re g i s t e r , and i s melodically simple; i t reappears i n the t h i r d dan at 37 , and, as e a r l i e r , i s rhythmically exact. This song can be c a l l e d a sageuta i n Noh terms, for i t matches the sp e c i f i c a t i o n s of t e s s i t u r a , rhythm and melody. In r e a l terms of course, t h i s sageuta from Sumidagwa would sound e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t from a Curlew River song. I t i s impossible to compare the songs on the basis of tonal, melodic, and rhythmic systems because the c u l t u r a l impet-us i s not the same; however, within the two c u l t u r a l milieus, r e l a t i v e c r i t e r i a such as low pitch, lower melodic s t y l e and fixed-rhythm have some v a l i d i t y for comparative purposes. Interrupting the sageuta at 27 i s the Madwoman's dance which corresponds to a kakeri dance i n the Noh-drama; thi s short and simple dance usually accompanies the shite's ex-pression of her tortured mind. This same purpose i s evident i n t h i s passage of Curlew River, as the Madwoman d r i f t s i n and out of r e a l i t y while she "simulates a gentle and graceful , the chorus continues 13 dance to l e f t and rig h t . " At 30 the sageuta accompanied by a rhythmic and melodic ostinato figure from the organ. The melodic contour remains simple, moving i n steps, and the t e s s i t u r a stays low. At this stage, i n the Noh-drama, a more melodically complex song would have been sung i n a higher t e s s i t u r a . B r i t t e n achieves the same contrast, by quickening the pace and emphasizing the upper notes of the melody ("sparkles l i k e hope"). The t h i r d dan begins at 33 ("Near the Black Mountains") with the Madwoman r e l a t i n g to the others the cause of her g r i e f and madness; th i s narrative i s s y l l a b i c a l l y based on passages of repeated notes which end with a .vocal s l i d e . The Noh-drama narrative (katari) occurs i n t h i s same section of a play, i n speech s t y l e . The vocal s l i d e i s a preparatory technique commonly used i n Noh singing, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n a highly intoned 14 r e c i t a t i o n passage. B r i t t e n has caught the essence of Noh-drama speech s t y l e i n t h i s section, yet has infused i t with 13 " • • Colin Graham. "Production Notes", pp. 9, 56. 14 T. Mmawaga. "Japanese Noh Music, " Journal of the American Musicological Society X, 1957, p. 191. his personal .composition sty l e ; the setting of the Madwoman's words, with i t s easy flow of language and rhythm i s t y p i c a l of the composer. The next important section begins with the dialogue between which i s c a l l e d the mondo the Madwoman and the Ferryman at 39 in the Noh; t h i s i s followed by a r e c i t a t i v e (sashi) and lament (kudoki) sung by the Madwoman. The lament i s a song i n three parts; the l y r i c a l section at 46 ("Birds of Fenl a n d " ) 1 5 i s interrupted by further dialogue between the Ferryman and the The l y r i c a l section returns at ( 9 9 ) with Madwoman at 47 the whole cast treating the melody canonically. This lament i s a departure from the Noh-drama s t y l e , which i s designated as a r e c i t a t i v e ; B r i t t e n has chosen to treat the section as one of the few melodically extended parts of the parable. The lament i s terminated by a choral Coda at 50 , and the 3rd dan ends with the return of the Ferryman's chromatic motif and a repeat of his entrance song melody. The rounding-off of t h i s dramatic section by such musical means as the r e c a l l i n g of an e a r l i e r motif i s a completely Western concept; the Noh-drama i s through-composed as i s most Asian music, and unity, as defined i n non-Asian musical terms, simply does not ex i s t . ' While Benjamin B r i t t e n has used the dramatic and musical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Noh-drama as a guide to structuring Curlew River, the word remains c l e a r l y non-Japanese. By My thanks to Mr. E l l i o t Weisgarber for pointing out that the text of "Birds of Fenland" i s an almost exact tra n s l a t i o n of the song "Sumidagawa" which remains a popular ko-uta to this very day. matching large and smaller dramatic divisions in the l ibretto of the two works and by intuit ive interpretation of the intent of the character's words, Britten retains some of the qualities.: of the Noh-drama. On a second leve l , however, there is a more detailed usage of the Noh-drama musical idioms. The fact that, so often, a coincidence occurs in recitative and l y r i c a l pas-sages, in tessitura, in melodic types, in rhythmic treatment and in the general order of occurence between the two structures is astonishing. To do a l l this matching up of structure and mood without the church parable becoming mired in detai l and inaccessible to a Western audience is an even greater feat. With additions and expansions in the l ibret to , and a change of setting, Britten has managed to u t i l i ze the formal structure of the Noh, shaping i t to his own compositional style. The use of masks, dramatic movement and a very simply designed stage are physical reminders of the Noh-drama in a Western interpretation. The music, with some Japanese borrowings, remains absolutely Western in design. In the best tradit ion of Orientalism, Britten has adapted the relevant and personally satisfying aspects of another culture's music and by inter-preting these aspects into, his own music has created an i n -dependent and innovative art-form. 54 CHAPTER III INSTRUMENTAL ELEMENTS; COINCIDENCE AND ASSOCIATION WITH JAPANESE MUSIC. The music of Curlew River contains many Asian-inspired elements, not a l l of which are immediately accepted as such by a Western l i s t e n e r . While an unfamiliar musical atmosphere i s sensed i n the church parable, Benjamin B r i t t e n guarantees that any new aural experiences are acceptable to the l i s t e n e r by using f a m i l i a r musical conventions as a basis for th e i r appre-c i a t i o n . The success of the work rests s i g n i f i c a n t l y on the s k i l l with which B r i t t e n amalgamates s p e c i f i c orchestral tech-niques, as well as rhythmic, harmonic and melodic patterns from a non-Western culture with those from the European t r a d i t i o n . Rather than mechanically copying Japanese musical patterns and sounds, B r i t t e n c u l l s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h i s non-Western t r a d i t i o n that would s u i t his stated intention for the work. Curlew River was to have a simple moral story such as that of Sumidagawa, an austere setting i n a church, a very l i m i t e d instrumental accompaniment, and an i n t e n s i t y and concentration comparable to the o r i g i n a l drama. B r i t t e n , i n his own writings about Curlew River, takes pains to state that the work i s no way to be considered "a pastiche from the ancient Japanese"''", nor i s there anything " s p e c i f i c a l l y Japanese l e f t i n the Para-ble William Plomer and I have w r i t t e n " 2 However, a close i n -spection of Curlew River and i t s dramatic elements has shown Benjamin B r i t t e n , notes i n London Recording of Curlew  River, 1965. 2 I b i d . 55 Britten's great s e n s i t i v i t y to the i n t r i c a c i e s of the Noh dramatic structure. Britten's awareness of Japanese musical conventions becomes increasingly clear upon s c r u t i n i z i n g s p e c i f i c musical treatment i n Curlew River. The musical elements of the Noh-drama that impressed B r i t t e n most were singled out i n his own writings and comprised "the mixture of chanting, speech, singing which, with the three 3 instruments made up the strange music." These elements are transferred to Curlew River i n a fascinating manner. Retaining many q u a l i t i e s of Noh-drama musical technique but infusing the above elements with personal s t y l e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , Benjamin 4 B r i t t e n creates the " t o t a l l y new operatic experience" he was seeking. In the areas of melody, harmony and rhythm we see further uses of Japanese patterns and p r i n c i p l e s i n pursuit of Britten's purpose. The instruments chosen for Curlew River by Benjamin B r i t t e n r e f l e c t the spare sonic atmosphere of the Noh-drama. The pro-minent use of the f l u t e (and sometimes, the piccolo) and fi v e small untuned drums i s modelled on the Noh-drama musical en-semble, the hayashi. Other instrumental additions for the Curlew River ensemble include a horn, v i o l a , s.tring bass, harp and chamber organ. The instruments appear to have been chosen by B r i t t e n not merely to embrace a Western orchestral sound but also to evoke a further exotic flavor by the part-i c u l a r function they f u l f i l l and the sound properties they possess. The hayashi ensemble of the Noh-drama consists of 3 I b i d . 4 I b i d . the nohkan, (Fig. 4) a bamboo, seven-holed, side-blown f l u t e , the ko tzuzumi, (Fig. 5), a shoulder drum, the o tzuzumi, (Fig. 6) a side drum and the taiko (Fig. 7 ) , a f l o o r drum. The hayashi ensemble i s placed at the back of the Noh stage, seated on the f l o o r or stools, except for the taiko player, who kneels. The tone qua l i t y of the instruments of the hayashi c l e a r l y influenced the sound of Curlew River. The sound of the nohkan i s emulated by the f l u t e , while the ko-tzuzumi, o-tzuzumi and the taiko relate to the f i v e untuned drums sp e c i f i e d for Curlew  River. Some of the other instruments required for the church parable such as the organ and harp are scored and played i n a way which i s reminiscent of other Japanese instruments, the sho, a bamboo mouth organ and the gaku-so, gaku-biwa, and wagon which are plucked chordophones. The remaining instruments of the Curlew River ensemble are u t i l i z e d i n a f a i r l y conventional manner. The nohkan i s a bamboo f l u t e of i n t r i c a t e construction; the wood i s smoked then cut into s t r i p s , reversed and glued. The f l u t e i s constructed i n six sections, one of which i s an inserted inner tube which gives the nohkan i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c accoustical properties. O r i g i n a l l y designed to be played out-of-doors, the nohkan, has a pierc i n g tone qua l i t y and a range of about two and a half octaves. The inserted pipe causes the f l u t e to produce less than an octave when overblowing, a unique feature of t h i s instrument. The f l u t e has seven finger holes and a very large mouthhole; the size of the mouthhole produces another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c sound, that of the excess a i r needed to 57 Hayashi Instruments Figure 4 Nohkan Figure 5 58 produce a tone. This noise i s considered important i n r e l a t i o n to a pure musical sound i n t r a d i t i o n a l Japanese music. While a l l the notes within the two octave range of the nohkan are available, only a small number of the notes are i n actual use. A number of stock melodies based on stereotyped i n t e r v a l l i c units are commonly used from one Noh-drama to an-other. The rhythm of the f l u t e part i s f l e x i b l e within the boundaries of the beginning and end of the melody; no time values are indicated i n the f l u t e notation. As a consequence, the f l u t e part unfolds independently from the other instrumental parts, acting as background sound. This l i n e a r q u a l i t y of the flute: music of the Noh i s present i n the drum and voice parts as well, creating a completely d i f f e r e n t concept of ensemble from the Western viewpoint. However, while extreme f l e x i b i l i t y of tempo and rhythm are present, improvisation i s never found i n any of the performances. Each gesture and sound i s notated i n the score and followed exactly. The nohkan i s used mainly for the beginning of scenes, for dramatic moments to create atmosphere and to accompany dance. The f l u t e part i n Curlew River corresponds i n many instances to the sound properties and function of the Noh f l u t e . The buzzing, a i r y q u a l i t y of the f l u t e sound f o r the Madwoman's entry c l e a r l y emulates the nohkan's sound properties, and i s achieved by scoring the passage i n the lower r e g i s t e r of the f l u t e , with tremelo. (ex. 1) The unfocused tone quality also emphasizes the condition of the Madwoman's thought; as the Madwoman moves in and out of her confused state of mind, the flute is accordingly focused or unfocused in tone quality. This can be seen by comparing ex. 1, with another passage (ex. 2). Example 2; p. 25, j 27 I'RR'E ~~ mm Fantastic (Fantastico) F t . Clear as a sky with Wie wol- ken - lo - ser . t . 7, , , , The sharp piercing quality of the flute pattern in "Clear as a Sky" (ex. 2) i l lustrates the Madwoman's attempt to gather herself for an explanation to the Ferryman. The passage is tinged with hysteria, but shows increased control. Further on in the passage, the Madwoman lapses into confusion again, the flute echoing this by a/ return to the unfocused tremelo sound as seen in ex. 1. Britten requires a conventional Western instrument to explore a Japanese sound ideal to achieve specific s t y l i s t i c and dramatic characterist ics. The flute sound in Curlew River is not the same as the nohkan; however, 60 with great s k i l l , B r i t t e n has synthesized the nohkan tone q u a l i t y with the t r a d i t i o n a l tone q u a l i t y of the f l u t e . The r e s u l t of this synthesis i s an exotic aura which:.infuses the austere aspect of the work, giving greater poignancy and di-.. rection to the unfolding drama. Here, as i n the Noh-drama, the f l u t e i n Curlew River i s used to create atmosphere i n dramatic moments. Another example of this may be seen during a narrative section; when the Madwoman t e l l s her story (p. 29 33 ) the f l u t e has a repeated-note figure with an upward s l i d e at the end (ex. 3) . Example 3; p. 29, 33 PP -7=6-This s l i d e i s commonly heard i n Japanese music, p a r t i c u l a r l y t r a d i t i o n a l court music and Noh-drama. I t i s a.microtonal ornamentation, widely used by the nohkan and other instruments. This s l i d e , or portamento, i s also a vocal technique i n the Noh, often heard as an upward preparation for a s p e c i f i c note, 5 or simply as part of a melodic pattern (ex. 4). This example i s from a t r a n s c r i p t i o n by Minawaga, discussed on p. 191-192 i n his a r t i c l e on "Japanese Noh Music". Example 4 61 ri\o A*e.- LLU SCC*'» v o n ,i ; / To o ~o Britten has used this portamento for an interesting dramatic purpose. The flute begins a dialogue with the Madwoman, who echoes the instrument's rhythmic pattern and portamento at the end of each phrase. The portamento is usually within the range of a whole tone, ascending as the story begins, then descending as the Madwoman's anguish becomes more and more apparent. The flute also plays these portamenti in a higher register as the story becomes more agitated, eventually being doubled by other instruments. The sound is focused and pierces the atmosphere; the voice mirrors the flute sound. The flute becomes associated with the Madwoman throughout Curlew River, not merely as a precursor of her presence, but as an inter-preter of her frame of mind. A jagged, leaping figure is sung by the Madwoman upon her f i r s t entrance and various treatments of this r i s ing fourth instrumentally and vocally are s k i l l f u l l y employed to show different stages of the Madwoman's composure. This same leaping figure is associated with the cry of the curlew (ex. 5) and is played by the f lute. 62 Example 5; p. 41 47 Flute t tf—% % i ? — — , — i — =—pp The f l u t e also echoes the Madwoman's lament beginning at bar 46 and i s employed i n a soaring" scale, figure to create the f e e l i n g and sweep of a f l i g h t of birds, (ex. 6) . Example 6; p. 40, 46 f f g . poco cresc. Later i n the parable,~at bar 75 , when the Madwoman likens her l o s t c h i l d to a b i r d , the f l u t e i s further heard i n figures of despair (ex. 7) . Example 7; p. 75, (16 6 3 As well as heightening drama, the flute tradit ional ly accompanies dance in the Noh-drama. Two instances of this convention may be found in Curlew River; to accompany the Madwoman's kakeri dance at (mai).at 27 94 (see ex. 2) and to accompany the S p i r i t ' s dance The flute in the latter case is replaced by a piccolo (ex. 8) Example 8; p. 115, 94 1 \ v— w~xrz— w— . pp simply ; ... . P ..... Britten uses the flute in Curlew River in another Noh-drama tradition*. - The nohkan is usually heard at the beginning of the various sections (dan) of the drama, to create atmos-phere, tension, or to focus the audience on dramatic intent. Britten follows this procedure very effectively, u t i l i z i n g the flute in a prominent, i f not lead position in four of the five dan.. The f i r s t dan begins with the Te Lucis fantasy; the whole instrumental ensemble is heard, but the flute appears to have the prominentLmelodic role. This prominence is achiev-ed by an anticipation, effected by the horn and v io la , the decorative nature of the harp writing, and the tessitura of the flute writing (ex. 9). 64 Example 9; p. 6, 5 D b . £ I -111 7 7 ^ r __r r ^ The Madwoman's entrance comes at the beginning of the ), accompanied by the haunting curlew motif second dan ( 19 played by the f l u t e . This motif, discussed e a r l i e r (see ex. 4) i s heard throughout the drama i n various transformations, and i s c l e a r l y a p i v o t a l figure, musically and dramatically. The ) begins with the narrative section (katari) t h i r d dan: ( 33 and a portamento sound on the f l u t e employed by B r i t t e n to approximate the nohkan portamento (see ex. 3). The fourth dan begins with an hayashi interlude at 55 ; the f l u t e pro-minently plays the Curlew River r e f r a i n (ex. 10) 65 Example 10; p. 50, 55 I 5^ 1 Slow The ACOLYTES hoist the sail. (LenM^ieAKOLYTEN setzen obs SegeJ The fif.th dan does not begin with the flute playing a prominent role . The transit ion section at 87 requires f u l l chorus with an orchestral obligato; the addition here of small bel ls is noticeable. However, at the end of the waiting song ( 199 ) the flute again appears as a solo instrument, playing a decor-ated version of the curlew motif, (ex. 11). Example 11; p. 10 4, 89 While Benjamin.Britten transmits many nohkan sound pro-perties and functions to his church parable, the f ina l s t y l i s -t i c idiom is utterly personal. The use of stereotyped inter-v a l l i c units ( i .e . curlew motif), sound qualit ies and the use of the flute for accompanying dance, beginning sections of drama and creating atmosphere in dramatic moments are Japanese devices, but they sound Western. Because the tonal idiom of 66 Curlew River i s derived from that of the plainsong "Te l u c i s g ante terminum", the tonal d e f i n i t i o n of the music i s Western. Into this tonal d e f i n i t i o n , B r i t t e n has drawn certain Japanese musical devices, which are authentic i n essence, but which, out of context, may be successfully transformed. The t r a n s l a -tion of these Noh-drama devices into a European idiom i s done with great care and always with Britten's consummate a b i l i t y to work within f a m i l i a r tonal, melodic and dramatic conventions to forge an o r i g i n a l conept. The use of the drums i n the Noh-drama i s related to the entire rhythmic structure of the play and s p e c i f i c a l l y to the text. The text i s set rhythmically within a framework of eight beats i n one of three basic systems. There may be one s y l l a b l e per beat (o n o r i ) , a s y l l a b l e for two beats (chu nori) or twelve s y l l a b l e s i n eight beats (hira n o r i ) . In patterns de-rived from the stereotyped rhythmic settings of text, the Noh drummers function as enhancers of the text i n several ways. Certain regular patterns may simply mark o f f sections of the text, while i r r e g u l a r patterns may put into r e l i e f e s p e c i a l l y important parts of the text. Other patterns are most often heard at the beginning of a passage, or as connectors before or af t e r a pattern. The progression of these patterns and the subsequent a n t i c i p a t i o n by the audience i s an important concept i n the Noh-drama. The drum patterns do not always follow each other i n an i n f l e x i b l e way, but are able to adjust to texts i n 6 I b i d . certain sections. A common adjustment i s the prolongation of s y l l a b l e s for c l a r i t y of meaning which i n j e c t s many rhythmic complexities into a basically, simple structure. As well, the general tempo o.'f the Noh tends to accelerate during a perfor-mance, both within sections and o v e r a l l . Consequently, although the Noh i s based on a structured rhythmic system, the need for precise understanding of the text, whether set i n a regular or i r r e g u l a r fashion, and the acceptance of many tempo changes gives the drama a remarkably subtle rhythmic f l e x i b i l i t y . The percussion group i n the Curlew River ensemble has much the same function as a Noh drum group. Primarily, the drums underscore the text; they i l l u s t r a t e a mood or an emotion, punctuate cogent sections, or i n t e n s i f y highly dramatic points. Drum patterns are used, as i n the Noh-drama, and appear i n various guises at appropriate parts of the drama. The drum patterns;in Curlew River are not associated with a character, but rather with the dramatic f e e l i n g or,mood of the parable. The Ferryman, a symbol of brusqueness and intolerance i n the parable, appears to have a drum motive associated with him, early i n the work (ex. 12). Example 12; p. 8, 8 68 However, on closer examination, this motive is altered so often, part icularly in i ts rhythmic emphasis, that i t s association becomes much greater than simply one of character. Rather, this rhythmic c e l l becomes representative of the i r r i t a t i o n with and persecution of the Madwoman. An example of this trans-formation:'!, for; dramatic purposes may be seen in the.'.intensifi-cation and prolongation of the original pattern (see ex. 12) with the appearance of the Ferryman, through his mocking of the Madwoman at 1411 and I 42I (ex. 13) , to the cast's tormenting (ex. 14) . the Madwoman through 43 Example 13; p. 35, 42 < 0 t 0 Example 14; p. 36, 43 ffg. i I JN * ft ft ^ fl^sn The pattern, which i s e s s e n t i a l l y a drum r o l l with a sharp stop on the f i r s t beat of the bar, adds a further pattern of unit beat and then i n t e n s i f i e s each beat with t r i p l e t punctuation at figures 42 43 the kuri at 75 This same t r i p l e t drum pattern i s again seen i n The k u r i section i s considered to be the high point of the play, with respect to dramatic i n t e n s i t y , and the drums respond i n an e e r i l y e f f e c t i v e way by moving from a t r i p l e t pattern, ; to eighth notes, to near silence as the ku r i note i s approached and sung (ex. 15). In conjunction, the dramatic mood.of:the\protagonists has moved from r i d i c u l e to sym-pathy and charity for the p l i g h t of the Madwoman. 70 Example 15; pp. 76-77, 77 =— P -3—i P\ 76 Cry Schrei ing in empty air. end durch lee-re— Luff. Now the nest of the cur-lew is si - lent with1 Nun das Nest un-srer Mi> vnen schnekjt still un-term\ rail. . pp. n — 1 — z r '  3 ' (n) nM_r_j fef_r—r-snow, Schnee, And the lamb Und das Larrrh rail. «4 U 4 j — > 71 Example 15 /cont'd. is de-voured by the car- ri - on maid zer- hackt von der Ne - - bet crow. krah.. rail.. The in-no-cent lamb.. Das un-schutd-ge Lamm... 77 ppslow Quick (in tempo) XAUegro) 8r f f f PP The heathen crow! _ die Hei-den-krah! — Good peo- pie, good peo-ple, Ihr Freun-de, ihr Freunde. where shall I, where shall I turn? wogeht's nun, wogehls nun hin? PP0 _ 8vabassa D b . (cottegnoj » i i 3 As far as the recurrence of stereotyped drum motifs i s concerned, only the beginning and end of the parable have a r e a l correspondence. The Te Lucis Fantasy uses the same pattern in both sections, and the Abbot's exhortation sections use the same figures. This unifying feature seems to c l e a r l y indicate the arch form of the parable, and to r e i t e r a t e the fact that these opening and closing sections are added to the o r i g i n a l Noh-drama plot l i n e . Two other instruments i n the Curlew River ensemble, the harp and the organ, have p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r associa-tions with Japanese instruments. The organ with i t s sound properties and i t s function i n the parable i s c l e a r l y i mitative of the Japanese sho, a seventeen-pipe mouth organ. The bamboo pipes of the sho', f i t t e d upright into a gourd, are played i n clusters, giving a chordal e f f e c t . However, as Asian music i s monophonic, the sho does not represent an attempt at harmony; the clustered tones are merely representative of the l i n e a r aspects, usually p r i n c i p a l melodic notes, played v e r t i c a l l y . Benjamin B r i t t e n uses the organ i n the same way in Curlew River the l i n e a r quality of the parable i s emphasized by use of organ clusters i n a harmonically non-functional way. The f a c t that many of the c l u s t e r s are based on Japanese scale pattern, 7 r i t s u , adds to the exotic quality of sound. (ex. 16) There i s no suggestion that Curlew River i s based on th i s Japanese scale. Rather, Britten's intent i s c l e a r l y modal with added chromaticism which e a s i l y lends i t s e l f to s p e c i f i c i n t e r v a l l i c emphasis common i n Japanese music. 73 Example 16; p. 1, er measurea (misur — (->-Z : -j— P \ The shimmering tone clusters of the organ provide a background for Britten's melodies, and also function rhythmically, helping to separate musical sections or phrases. Cluster changes i n the Abbot's exhortation at I 3 I propels the drama forward (ex. 17), marks o f f musical selections while c l u s t e r changes following! (ex. 18) . Example 17; p. 4, As candle-shine Wie Her- zen-schein In a dismal place, In der dunk ten Nacht, A freshet spilt EmQjell ent - spring! In a desert waste, Un-terfn WU-sten-sand, The i n c l u s i o n of such i n t e r v a l s as major seconds and minor sevenths i n the organ clusters are also reminiscent of the t r a -d i t i o n a l sho chords. B r i t t e n takes pains to use these i n t e r v a l s i n the organ wr i t i n g wherever possible, further emphasizing exotic sonorities i n Curlew River (see examples 17, 18). 74 Example 18; p. 5, 4? * 0 pray for the souls of all that 0 be - fet fur See - ten, die am Tenors / sust.  fall Weg By the way-side, all a Ein - sam ster- ben oh - ne Pray Baritones /Just Bf for tet all that fall for See Basses fsust. Pray for all Be - tet fur that die fall. See ten. By way-side, all a-die ster-ben oh - ne Pray for the souls of all that Be - tet fur See - ten, die am fall _ mg — By the way-side, all a-Ein-sam ster-ben oh - ne 0 praise our God that lift-eth up The 0 lobt denHsrrh, der die er - hebt, Die fal-len, fie - ten, the lost,. ver- torn, the ver -PP least tan. Praise Lobt that er , lift - eth The fal - len, - hebt auf, die fie - len, •0- -0- the vert le - tan.. Praise our ioof den God Herr'n, that lift - eth er - hebt auf. the lost die fie - len. the ver I least. - tan. m Praise our God that lift-eth up The Lobt den Herr'n, der die er - hebt, Die fal-len, fie - ten, the lost,_ ver- tort),— the ver least.. tan.. The use of the harp in Curlew River is generally connected with patterns of arpeggios, gl issandi, ost inat i and pedal points. The inclusion of a plucked chordophone in the instru-mental ensemble of Curlew River is an idea probably borrowed from Britten's impressions of performances of gagaku, or g Japanese court music, in which one of three plucked chordo-phones may be used - the wagon, the gaku-so and the gaku-biwa. These three chordophones play short stereotyped melodic or arpeggio patterns, interrupted occasionally by ornamentation or gl issandi . The patterns are influenced by the mode or melody of the court music, but their primary function is one of punctuation at regular intervals. Typical patterns would be as follows: (ex. 19) Example 19 from Etenraku, a Japanese String and Wind Composition I n Curlew River, the harp plays a sim i l a r r o l e to the gagaku chordophones. I t plays arpeggios, repeated melodic patterns and ornaments i n a kind of ostinato function. . Repeated at reg-ular i n t e r v a l s , the harp patterns generally continue indepen-dently from the voice or other instruments.. Here, the l i n e a r Discussed in "Ausflung Ost" by Ludwig, Prince of Hesse and the Rhine in A Tribute to Benjamin Britten on his F i f t i e th  Birthday by A. Gishford, 1963, p. 58. aspect of Curlew River i s again evident with similar character-i s t i c s already noted i n the f l u t e , drum, and organ parts. The entrance music for the T r a v e l l e r at 13 p. 14, i s a good example of an arpeggio pattern, repeated on d i f f e r e n t scale tones, moving steadily at i t s own tempo u n t i l (ex. 20) 16 , p. 17 Example 20; p. 14, 13 H a r p P / Another harp pattern, again moving independently from the vocal l i n e , can be found i n the poignant lament "Birds of the Fen-land" at 46 . The harp plays the same arpeggio over and over, i n i t s own tempo, s l i g h t l y elaborated at the point of i n t e r -jection by the Ferryman at | 47|. The Ferryman, T r a v e l l e r and with the harp contin-49 49 , the v i o l a enters Chorus j o i n the Madwoman's song at uing the same pattern. Shortly after with a repeated melodic pattern. Both the v i o l a and harp pat-terns continue unchanged u n t i l the end of the lament. An excep-t i o n a l aspect to the lament as a whole i s the polyphonic s t r a t i -f i c a t i o n of i t s construction. The entrances of the various voices, overlying the repeated instrumental patterns, suggest more than simply a canonic-plus-ostinato section, but rather indicate that Br i t t e n has u t i l i z e d a kind of colotomic structure. The basic p r i n c i p l e of colotomic structures i s that regularly recurring instrumental patterns in a specific order and at specific times mark the music off into temporal units. This principle is very important in Asian music, part icularly in Javanese and Balinese gamelan music. While colotomic structure usually centres around the percussion instruments of the game-9 lan, Benjamin Britten who heard these orchestras in Java seems to have applied the principle to complete sections throughout Curlew River. As far as the lament is concerned, the harp and viola reiterate their patterns, written in eighth notes, cognizant of the unit beat of the work. The voices enter in a specific order, at specific times which are clearly indicated on the score by arrows. Again, we have evidence of 'Britten's extraordinary ab i l i ty to absorb another culture's musical principles thoroughly enough that he can adapt them to his own style with complete success, (ex. 21) See "Ausflug Ost" by Ludwig, Prince of Hesse and the Rhine in A Tribute to Benjamin Britten on his F i f t i e th Birthday by A. Gishford, 1963, p. 56 ffg. 78 Example 21; p. 43, 49 f f g . 1 ferryman I Both de-rive from long - ing, Bei- de triebt die Serin • sucht, Both from love. Lie - be - volt. Birds of the Fen-tand," Vo - gel des Moor-lands, m Traveller Organ. ; o i Both de-rive from long - ing,*-Bei-de triebt die Sehn-sucht, will ask you too, "Is the fmgteudiVrOhlauch,"lst mein Baritones Both from love. *. 'Lie - be-voll. fchild I love Still liv - -ing?" lie - bes Kind am Le - ben?" pp u like Madwoman) ^r= )F 'Birds of the Fen-land," V6-gel des Moorlands. She will ask_ and Ja so fragt sie Birds of the Fen-land, shewill ask you | too, Vo - get des Moorlands, sie fragt euch wohl audi, _ ABBOT and Basses pp*\ like Madwoman) "Is the child I love Still liv -"1st mein lie - bes Hind am Le -Flute Harp. Birds of the Fen-land, she will ask you too, Vo - gel des Moor- lands, sie fragt euch wohl auch, ,(araduaL-crese..i. Harp patterns continue throughout the parable as repeated glissandi in a section representing the Ferryman poling his in melodic patterns interrupted by glissandi at boat at 75 56 and three-note patterns clearly based on the ancient (ex. 22) Japanese chordophone patterns (seen in ex. 18) at 77 Example 22; p. 77, 72 m He**, k 7 \ \ m In summary, Benjamin Britten's instrumentation for Curlew  River may be observed to be chosen for tone quality and ensemble sound that is evocative of Japanese theatrical and court music instruments. Not content simply to have Curlew River ensemble sound l ike an hayashi ensemble, Britten goes to some lengths to have the instruments use such performance practices as stereotyped patterns, and musical function to explore more ful ly Asian instrumental principles . While these principles become evident under close study, details such as specific Japanese in terva l l i c movements, scales, modes, tunings, and rhythmic patterns are employed very rarely, i f at a l l . Curlew River is never "a pastiche from the ancient Japanese"^ but is a wonder-ful ly r ich blend of Asian and European compositional principles , See note!1. performance practices and instrumental timbres. Vocal tech-niques, to be discussed in the next chapter, are s imilarly culled and blended from the two cultures. . 81 CHAPTER IV VOCAL ELEMENTS ; , COINCIDENCE AND ASSOCIATION WITH JAPANESE MUSIC. The setting of Curlew River becomes immediately apparent with the appearance of the chorus of monks singing a plainsong hymn, Te Lucis ante terminum. The singing of this hymn, which has apparently been "preserved intact",''" also establishes the vocal climate of the church parable in some very specific ways. Gregorian chant with i t s l inear qualit ies offers special musical aspects that Britten is quick to appropriate for his own use in Curlew River. The modal nature of plainsong with i ts empha-sis on conventional formulas and melodic devices, as well as the 2 "oratorical nature" of chant with melody based on grammatical accents are characteristics seen reproduced many times through-out Britten's church parable. The fact that the Gregorian hymn influences nearly a l l sections of the work merely re in-forces Britten's propensity in Curlew River for using the characteristics of chant. As seen in an earl ier discussion, the Gregorian hymn sections are added to the or ig inal Noh-drama. In order to successfully change the cultural focus from medieval Japan to medieval England, Britten has chosen this l i t u r g i c a l concept as a framework for musical unity throughout. However, while the Gregorian characteristics in the vocal music of Curlew-The expression "preserved intact" is one used by many scholars in connection with Britten's use of this plainsong hymn. However, i t is s t i l l unclear whether this refers to the melody, the words or both; in the Liber Usualis, the melody is not the same. 2 See Music in the Middle Ages by Gustave Reese, W.R., Norton, 1940, p. 166. River are most obvious, there are also inf luent ia l vocal 3 characteristics of the Noh-drama to be found. As noted in previous chapters on dramatic and instrumental practices in Curlew River, the composer displays a remarkable grasp of the basic structures of Noh-drama. Hence, the vocal music of Curlew River presents a further fascinating synthesis of cross cultural musical qual i t ies . The principles of stereotyped in terva l l i c units as well as melodic and rhythmic patterns, have been seen to be fun-damental to the Japanese Noh-drama. In accordance with this tradit ion, Noh vocal music is generally regulated by two s t y l i t i c composits of scales, dynamics, expression and vocal tech-4 nique. The two complexes, Tsuyo and Yowa may represent for-mulae for scale patterns and melodic movement, use of accent, dynamics, length of time-units, and such vocal techniques as portamento and vibrato. In Yowa, melodic movement formulae are extremely important and are based on movement between the three principle notes of the complexy. each a perfect fourth There is a connection between Buddhist chant (shomyo) and the music of the Noh drama. However, within the l imits of those pages, this complex subject and i t s subsequent allegory with the Christian chant used in Curlew River cannot be explored. 4 A third style is used for a pure speech section, and contains an intonation formula with a characteristic cadential figure. See T. Minawaga, "Japanese Noh Music" in Journal of American Musicological Society X, 1957, p. 185. 83 apart.^ Tsuyo, as a highly intoned recitation stresses drama-t i c tone colour, dynamics and a special vocal technique rather than melodic movement. Theoretically, melodic movement is centered around four main tones, but because the vocal chords are excessively strained in order to produce the desired sing-ing technique, melodic movement becomes limited between two tones. These tones are about a minor third apart; because of the tension of the vocal chords pitch is very unstable, and vibrato can fluctuate as much as a minor th ird . Upward melodic movement is often produced as a result of this strained singing, part icularly in sections emphasizing greatly contrasted dynamics or sforzando-accented syl lables . The choice of Yowa or Tsuyo style depends largely on the text; one of these scale complexes may be used throughout a play or may be alternated with the other, according to the content of the play or passage. Noh vocal delivery is generally guided by rather vague g instructions to maintain "grace and dignity". Various per-formance schools of Noh emphasize different vocal interpre-tations, but there is less emphasis on beauty of sound than on a complete understanding of the role to be played. In fact, many of the best actors in Noh have inadequate or poor voices, This in terva l l i c relationship often leads Western scholars to assume incorrectly a propensity towards a minor seventh in Japanese Noh music; the seventh formed between the two of the three important tones is ; very rarely heard, and then. always preceded by a transit ional tone. The favorite interval i s , in fact, the perfect fourth, the successive sum.:of: which leads to this misconception. g See No, the Classical Theatre of Japan, by Donald Keene, 1966," p. 76 ffg. 84 but the manner of t h e i r i nterpretation of the inner meaning of the texts i s all-important. There i s no d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n between the vocal ranges - tenor, baritone and bass, - and the voice i s produced at the back of the throat. Thus, the q u a l i t y of d i c t i o n i s greatly altered. However, as the interpretation of the words i s more important than a very s p e c i f i c projection of vowels and consonants, th i s vocal delivery, i s not considered peculiar, p a r t i c u l a r l y as the audience has l i b r e t t i available to consult during the performance. As a r e s u l t of the above emphasis on interpretation i n vocal delivery, an i n t e r e s t i n g role accrues to the voice i t s e l f . Even though the text i s set and not subject to improvisation, the move from enuncia-tion to interpretation frees the voice to act i n an i n s t r u -7 mental r o l e . Further lack of emphasis on vocal quality,-beauty of sound and ex p l o i t a t i o n of vocal ranges adds to the instrumental character of Noh singing. In examining the score of vocal parts of Curlew River, with some of the above musical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n mind, i t becomes apparent that Benjamin B r i t t e n has done a remarkable job of amalgamating pertinent musical aspects from two cultures into his own compositional framework. A s t r i k i n g non-Western musical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c to be seen i n Britten's church parable i s the p r i n c i p l e of heterophony. This p r i n c i p l e , widely used i n Chinese, Japanese, Javanese, and African music, involves the modification of the main melody for simultaneous use by Ibid., p. 7 7 . 85 two or more performers. In this practise accompanying per-formers generally play the same melody with ornamentations, with the resulting texture a unique form of polyphony. This type of heterophonic music is heard in Japanese court music - (gagaku), a performance of which Britten attended in 1957. A transcribed excerpt from a piece of gagaku, for a string and wind ensemble (kangen) demonstrates the Japanese principles of heterophony (ex. 1). Example 1 Etenraku - Kangen ryuteki h i c h i r i k i Benjamin Britten uses heterophony in a number of places in Curlew River, notably in the instrumental Te Lucis Fantasy (ex. 2) and in the vocal section sung by the chorus of Abbot H, p. 10 (ex. 3) . and Monks, "Between Two Kingdoms", Example 2; p. 6 F t . -H a r p m p - via^ m 1~1 1 i w_ D b . — 86 Example 3; p. 10, mm Be-tween two Zwi - schen zwei king-doms the Rei - chen hin ABBOT and Basses ri - ver flows stromt der Fluff; On— Hier— this side the_ dies - seits das. WW r r r Be - tween two l^g- dtoms_Jlhe_ ri - ver flows; On this side the It is perhaps not too far-fetched to associate the singing of the monks in Curlew River in Ex. 2, with eccles iast ical sing-ing in a large cathedral with i t s resultant reverberations and overlapping of sounds. The heterophonic section "Between Two Kingdoms" is used many times throughout the parable, ser-ving as a choral interlude and commentary between new drama-t i c developments, and emphasizing the Christian overtones of the word (see bars 18 38 79' )'.. Another stunning use of heterophony is found at 88 with the Chorus singing a hymn Custodes Hominum to an orchestral accompaniment (ex. 4). 87 Example 4; p-. 97, 88 88 The modified Custodes melody, played by the instrumental en-semble contributes to a cluster effect, another very common Asian musical characterist ic . On a smaller scale, an extension of the same principle has been seen in the organ clusters, which are chordal aggregates of a melodic motif sung by one of the characters (ex. 5). Example 5; p. 2, (4 j """" . „ — . j j , F=3 far-'—f-®~"[' The Bro-thers have come to-day ' To show you a mys - te-ry: ' Heut ka-men die Bru - der her—1 Ein Wunder euch auf - zu-fdhr'n: A ( f _ : - 1 i& d TIC V . The use of these chordal aggregates is also common in gagaku (see example 1), a fact of which Britten was clearly) aware. However, while tone clusters, played the sho, punctuate the generally regular meter of Japanese court music, the chordal aggregate, often played by the organ in Curlew River, is used by Benjamin Britten to the opposite effect. Using this har-monic and melodic aggregate as an anchor, Britten releases the metre of the vocal l ines so that they may become non-aligned, moving independently of one another. Britten eliminates bar lines in these instances, providing a starting and ending point for rhythmic, melodic and harmonic encounters, but allow-ing for a relat ively free association of vocal and instrumental lines within these boundaries. The non-alignment technique is part icularly effective in crowd scenes, where the characters freely and naturally speak among themselves. The harassment of the Madwoman by the Ferryman and Pilgrims ( at 43 ffg.) i s an excellent example of the above effect (ex. 6 ) . 90 Example 6;~p..37, 43 Urv-less you enter-tain us Wenn du uns nicht noch Spat) machst / * with your sing durch oein Sin • ing. gent Un- less you en-ter-Werm du uns nicht nod Un-less you en-ter- tain us Wem du uns nicht noch Span machst with your sing durchdein Sin -ing: gen! Un-less you en-ter-ifenn du uns nicht noch V/e want Wirwotfn o hear you si ng dich sin -gen ho ing, ren. cra-zi- ly sing - ing J i IT-sin-nig Sin - gen! Wtewant to hear you sing Wirvolfn dich sin-gen ho • Make us laugh withyoursing-ing, Mach'uns la - chendurchSin - gen, -tain us Spal) machst -tain us Span machst with your sing - ing ! durch dein Sin • gen! with your sing - ing ! durch dein Sin - gen! cra-zi-ly sing - ing! Jfifek r irr- sin-nig Sin - gen! -wo - man! Frau du! 'ng, ren. Mad-Ir- re The rhythmical independence of the voices, which i s seen between other voices, and also between voice and instrument i l l u s t r a t e s another of Benjamin Britten's exceptional s t y l e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , that of text s e t t i n g . B r i t t e n i s recognized as being greatly influenced by the English Baroque composer, Henry P u r c e l l , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the se t t i n g of the English language i n natural speech patterns. The ease of i n f l e c t i o n and accent of the language i s noticeable throughout the parable, and i s p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e i n dialogue sections. A fine example of Britten's text s e t t i n g i s seen at 51 when the company takes the Madwoman's part i n asking the Ferryman's permission to come aboard. The simply rhythmic and melodic set t i n g p a r a l l e l s the i n f l e c t i o n and pattern of English. Here again, the canonical entries are non-aligned, which further illuminates the speech of the characters. (ex. 7) 92 Example 7; p. 48, r 51 Fer- ryman, she begs of you To let heroome a- board. Fahr- mann, sie bit- tet dich, Ach, ial) sie doch an Bond. ABBOT p cnesc. tsr c f f g She sees the boat is crowded, But let her comes Sie sieht das Boot volt Leu- te, Doch lafi sie doch a) A* 0 * ~0 g Fer-ryman, she begs of you To let her come a-board. Fahr- mann,sie bit-tet dich, Ach, lafi sie doch anBord. Weib.. ! Fer-ry-man, ; Fahr - mann) :; 7 f ; a x i l ! ? p , « — i H — 1 , i , =-pp j — ^ -board, Bord, ' Let her come a - board! -- • • -0rd! _ Let her Lafi sie I! fer-ry-Fahr -Shesees the boat is crowd-ed, But tet her come a-board. Sie sieht das Boot vol! Leu - te, Doch laf) gje doch an Bord, J ) — h — I k I v — 4 , K b l ' mf Let Lafi her sie come a - b_oai doch an sie bb^-te^ y$ich. Ach. sfe ^c/f a^'B^ord* She sees the boat is crowd-ed, But tet her come a- board, ! Sie sieht das Boot voll Leu- te. Doch la/i sie doch an fjgrd,^ FERRYMAN FAHRMANNp She sees the boat is crowd-ed, But tet her oome a- board, ! Sie sieht das Boot voll Leu-te, Doch lafi sie doch an Bord. j -man, she begs of you To let her oome a - board. mann, sie bit-tet dich, Ach, lafi sie doch an Bord This mad-wo-man seems, Though her mind may be wan - d'ring tch meindiet-re scheint,H&>n ihr Geist auch ver- wirrt ist. 93 Another fascinating example of Britten's text setting shows a direct Purcell ian influence. The Ferryman's derisive discussion of the Madwoman's condition starting at 40 ends in a dramatic delivery of the word "wand'ring". The Baroque flavour of this passage includes a melisma on the word "wand'ring", a character-i s t i c Purcellian melodic pattern, and intense chromaticism to i l lus trate the tormented thinking of the Madwoman (ex. 8). Example 8; p. 35, 41 ffg. t - r — o f r f gffof 7 f i / p,ffr-}tr-ygMH —f r 7 J — r — - r V 9 7 r r V j r — * r A-ny foot can see Yourfeetarewarrih'ng,\faurtr«u^Ttsare Je-derNarr er-kemt De-neFus-se ir - n=n Dein Ceist qehl |_I , f —e  wan - d'ring, ir - re. This passage has an interesting counterpart in one of Purcel l 's most famous arias, "Dido's Lament" from Dido and Aeneas (1689) (ex. 9). Example 9 • vn _BE The use of stereotyped i n t e r v a l s and melodic motifs as str u c t u r a l elements i s seen throughout Curlew River, r e c a l l i n g t h i s same usage dictated by the two Noh style composites Yowa and Tsuyo. I t must be emphasized that while the pit c h content of these stereotyped patterns might coincide between Noh-drama and Curlew River there are additional c u l t u r a l considerations involved i n the separate musical languages. S i m i l a r l y , there are instances i n Curlew River of comparable Japanese and 8 1 Western scale patterns, but to conclude that B r i t t e n used Japanese scales i n the parable would be s i m p l i s t i c . The impli-cations of Japanese scales and modes go far beyond the notes they represent and thus, are not comparable so l e l y on thi s basis. However, the use of melodic and rhythmic patterns as str u c t u r a l elements i s common to both the Noh-drama and Curlew  River. The Gregorian hymn, Te Lucis, serves as the basis for many melodic motifs used throughout the parable. The abbot's sung r e l i g i o u s motif (ex. 10) comes from the plainsong (ex. 11) while the Ferryman's horn motif maintains the range of a f i f t h from the hymn and u t i l i z e s the int e r v a l s from the second phrase with an alternating 3rd degree (ex. 12). The Madwoman's sung motive of confusion (ex. 13) i s also derived from the second phrase of the plainsong. Example 10; p. 2, 2 Abbot How Wie in sad mischance in bitt'- rer Not A sign was gi-ven of God's grace. _ i Bin Zei-chen kam von Got- tes Gna-de.-L Schneyer, Mary Ruth, p. 162. Example 11 95 ALL VOICES Slow (Lento) cresc 1. Te lu-cis an-te ter-mi-num, Re-rum Cre-a-tor, po-sci-mus, Ut pro tu-a cle-men-ti-a 2. Pro-cul re - cedant sprnni - a, c* - ~ <- — .t ..... 3. Praesta, RS - ter pi - fs- si - me, Et noc-ti- urn phantas-ma-ta: Ho-stemquenostrum compri-me Pa-tri-que compar U-ni-ce, CumSp'i-ri-tu Pa- ra-cli-to.'J . and rail 1 Sis praesul 2. Ne pol- lu 3. Reg nans per. et cu - sto-di - a. an-tur cor- po- ra. d-mne sie-cu- lum. Tenor Solo men.. The ABBOT comes forward to address the congregation. DerABT tritt vor.um die Gemeinde anzureden. Example 12; p. 8, 96 1^511^ 3 •-TT, P 1 Example 13; p. 23, 22 /(freeW La a_ I P Tell me the, tell me the way! Jr.h.nicM^ver^stehinichLver^steh'.L Tell me the, tell me the way! Further uses of plainsong motives include the Traveller's "May God Preserve Wayfaring Men" at 16' , the Ferryman at 54 "God have mercy upon us"; then at 55 , the instrumental interlude plays a new melody developed.from the f i r s t l i n e of the p l a i n -song, which eventually becomes at re f r a i n "Curlew River" (ex. 14).. 56 the important choral Example 14.; p. 51, 56 7LTTTgp r A y C(po^ — i n ^ The S p i r i t ' s "Kyrie" again repeats the plainsong melody while another version can be seen at 86 , the Ferryman's admonition to the Madwoman to pray for the soul of her c h i l d . A vocal aspect found s p e c i f i c a l l y i n the Noh drama, and transferred f o r use i n Curlew River i s that of vocal portamento The s t r i k i n g instances of these vocal s l i d e s of a tone or semi-tone are found i n the Madwoman's narrative at 33 The ob-sessive monotone of her speech i s emotionally charged by the r i s i n g or f a l l i n g twist at the end of each phrase. While the Noh vocal portamento i s often a function of the method of vocal delivery, i t i s also considered an ornamentation or enhancment of melody l i n e . B r i t t e n has treated ;the portamento i n the same way, using a simple, r e s t r i c t e d melodic concept with a single ornamentation at the phrase end (ex. 15). Example 15; p. 30 34 One day a-las he vanish'd, -Doch-eUnesJacB-WzSchwand-er. One day he vanish'd: -Ach,-da^.ver-schwand_ec The contrast between th i s passage and the Madwoman's previous passages containing intense chromaticism (see complete and the r e s u l t i s e l e c t r i c . 20 ffg.) i s Vocal s t y l e i n the Noh-drama i s governed by the s t y l e composite i n use,,either Yowa (meaning "weak") or Tsuyo (mean-ing "strong"). As previously explained, these Noh terms cannot 98 be thought of as a single description, but rather as a compo-site of many different musical aspects. Writings of the early 9 . Noh masters describe the emotional nature of various types of 0 singing-rejoicing, elegant, love, sorrowful and sublime singing - by i l lu s t ra t ing the desired effect with a poem. The various schools of Noh-drama have formulated their own interpretations of these categories and these are passed on from teacher to pupi l . Considerable difference exists in the interpretations of different schools. In Curlew River, the composer takes great pains to be very specific about the desired singing style, often requiring many changes in performing s k i l l s within one section. The Ferryman's entrance song at | 8 | is a good example of the vocal contrasts required by Benjamin Bri t ten . From the declamatory style atl 8 j , the Ferryman changes to an emphatic singing style to emphasize "In every season", then to a smooth l y r i c a l delivery of "A year ago today" at his section at I 12 11 and then finishes with a dramatic delivery of the portentious "Today is an important day". In spite of the restrictions Benjamin Britten imposes on himself of basing his church parable on a Noh-drama and speci-fying an all-male cast, an austere staging and a limited i n -strumental accompaniment, there is a tremendous richness of resource to be found in Curlew River. The vocal music d i s -cussed in this chapter reveals the resourcefulness and creative powers of a composer who, within the bounds of two cultural Notalby Zeami, the great Noh scholar (1363 - 1443 A . D . ) . t r a d i t i o n s , forges a t i g h t l y - k n i t , intense and inventive musical morality play. \ 100 CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS Although Benjamin Britten has written that "there is nothing specif ical ly Japanese left" in Curlew River there are many Japanese dramatic and musical idioms, adroitly handled, reshaped and integrated into the fabric of his church parable. Following in the traditions of the phenomena of nineteenth century orientalism, Britten has created an autonomous art-form based on synthesizing two cultural music ideals. Recep-tive and highly sensitive to the unfamiliar music heard on his Asian t r i p , desirous of achieving the intensity and concentra-tion of the Japanese Noh-drama yet cognizant of the necessity for or ig ina l i ty rather than imitation, the composer set out to assimilate personally satisfying characteristics from two cultures into a unique musical creation. From the musical culture of Japan, Benjamin Britten has adopted the l ibretto of Sumidagawa, principles of the dramatic structure, staging and costuming of the Noh, and has used Japanese instrumental and vocal tone colours and techniques. Heterophony, a fundamental Japanese musical treatment, and stereotyped rhythmic, melodic and harmonic patterns are con-sistently found throughout the parable. As in the Noh, the similar use of musical and dramatic symbolism in the parable expresses much of the mysticism found in the Japanese art-form. From Britten's musical culture, he chose the setting of a Medieval Religious Drama and based the melodic and tonal components on the Gregorian hymn "Te lucis ante terminum." This 101 ancient Western monophonic tradi t ion, seemingly restr ict ive to a twentieth century composer, actually gives rise to one of Britten's most inventive works. And, despite the many new techniques employed by the composer, many familiar Britten style characteristics are present."" The essentially tonal frame-work intensified with a process of chromatic introversion, masterful text setting, often resulting in independent rhythmic propulsion, the frequent use of unequal fourths (cf. cry of the Curlew), special interest in instrumental and vocal tone colour and p r o l i f i c melodic invention found, in Curlew River are a l l hallmarks of the composer's s ty le . None of the compositional traditions from either culture are simply transplanted to the score of Curlew River; rather, each aspect is tempered with Benjamin Britten's personal stamp. Adaptations of Japanese instrumental tone colours are employed in the parable, using carefully chosen timbres of Western i n -struments to evoke Asian sounds. Heterophony is present not simply as a Japanese technique, but as an exploration of . : .' .. : Britten's interest in the renunciation of harmony as a compo-s i t ional catalyst. The dramatic structure of the Noh is closely followed, but is interspersed with choral comment, recal l ing the tradit ion of the Medieval Religious Drama with is emphasis on didactic morality. The plainsong, as the melodic basis of the work, is heard in i t s or ig inal form only in the pro-cessional and recessional; between these instances, i t s pre-sence can be detected in.every section, part icularly when references to Christianity are heard. The staging, costuming 102 and use of masks have many of the r i t u a l and symbolic qualit ies of the Noh, but these qualit ies in their Curlew River trans-formation, are even more strongly identif iable to the Western audience as the legacy on which European l i t u r g i c a l and dramatic traditions are based. Benjamin Britten's Curlew River has emerged as a complex work which, under cursory observation may be appreciated as an intense, styl ized and strangely beautiful work. This parable, unique among Britten's work, has a second level of appreciation, however, when the inspiration for Curlew River, i s carefully explored. The music traditions of the Japanese Noh-drama coupled with those of Britten's musical heritage are merged with consummate s k i l l , to y ie ld an innovative and v iv id work in the best s p i r i t of enlightened orientalism. 103 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Berger, Donald. "The Nohkan: Its Construction and Music", Ethnomusicology IX, No. 3, 1965, pp. 221-239. Br i t t e n , Benjamin. On Receiving the f i r s t Aspen Award; a speech by Benjamin B r i t t e n . London: Faber and Faber, 1964. Carner, Mosco. "The Exotic Element i n Puccini," The Musical  Quarterly XXII (1936) pp. 45-67. Davies, Laurence. Paths of Modern Music. New York: Barrie and Jenkins, 1971. Evans, Peter. "Britten's Fourth Creative Decade" i n Tempo, 106, 1973, p. 8-17. . The Music of Benjamin B r i t t e n . London: J.M. Dent and Sons, 1979. Gardner, Helen. Art Through the Ages. 4th edition, ed. by S.M. Crosby. New York: Harcourt, Bruce and Company, 1959. Garfias, Robert. -Music of a Thousand Autumns. The Togaku Style of Japanese Court Music. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press., 1975. Graham, Colin. "Production Notes and Remarks on the Style of Performing Curlew River" i n Rehearsal Score of  Curlew River. London: Faber, 1965. Gishford, Anthony. Tribute to Benjamin B r i t t e n on His F i f t i e t h  Birthday. London: Faber and Faber, 1963. Goddard, Scott. "Benjamin B r i t t e n " i n B r i t i s h Music of Our  Time. A.L. Bacharach, editor. Harmondsworth: Middlesex, England, 194 6. Harewood, E a r l of, ed. " B r i t t e n Issue" of Opera, Vol. I I , no. 6, London, May 1951. Honour, Hugh. Chinoiserie The Vi s i o n of Cathay. London: John Murray, Ltd., 1961. Howard, P a t r i c i a . The Operas of Benjamin B r i t t e n . London: Barrie and Rock c l i f f e , the Cresset Press, 1969. Impey, Oliv e r . Chinoiserie. New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, 1977. 104 James, Richard. "Britten's Curlew River" in Current Musicology, 26, 1978. pp. 22-23. Keene, Donald. No: the. Classical Theatre of Japan. Tokyo, Palo Alto, California::Kodansha International, 1966. Kel ler , Hans. "Britten and Mozart" A Challenge in the Form of Variations on an Unfamiliar Theme" in Music and  Letters, Vol . XXIX, no. 1, London, January, 1948, pp. 17-30. Klein, J.W. "Britten and English Opera" in Musical Opinion, London, March, 19 52. . "Britten's Advance to Mastery" in Musical Opinion, London, March, 1952. Laade, Wolfgang. "Benjamin Britten's Mysterienspiel Curlew River und die japanischen Vorbilder" in Musik und  Bildung, 1/12, December, 1969, pp. 562-565. Lockspeiser, Edward. Debussy: His Life and Mind, Vol . I , 1862-1902. Cambridge University Press, 1962. Malm, William and Crump, James, eds. Chinese and Japanese Music Dramas. Ann Arbor, Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1975. Malm, William. Japanese Music. Tokyo, Rutland, Vermont: E . Tuttle Co. , 1959. Manning, Rosemary. From Hoist to Britten, A Study of Modern Choral Music, London: Workers Music Association, 1949. Matthews, Colin. "Britten's Indian Summer" in Soundings, v i , 1977, pp. 42-50. Minawaga, Tatsuo. "Japanese Noh Music" in Journal of American  Musicological Society, X, 1957, p. 185. Mitchel l , Donald and Kel ler , Hans. Benjamin Britten; a commen- tary on his works from a group of special is ts . London: Rockcliffe, 1952. Noble, Jeremy. "Britten's Songs From the Chinese" in Tempo, 52, Autumn, 1959, pp. 25-29. Redlich, Hans F. "The Significance of Britten's Operatic Style: in Music Survey, Vo l . II, no. 4, Spring, 1950, pp. 240-245. 105 Rhoads, Mary Ruth Scheyer. Influences of Japanese Hogaku manifest in selected compositions by Peter Mennin and  Benjamin Britten. Doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University, 1969. Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books, 197 8. Salzmann, E r i c . Twentieth Century Music. Englewood C l i f f s , New Jersey: Prentice-Hall , 1967. Schafer, Murray. Br i t i sh Composers in Interviews, London: Faber, 1963. Sinor, Denis, ed. Orientalism and History. Cambridge: W. Heffer and Sons L t d . , 1954. Stevens, Dennis, ed. History of Song. New York: W.W. Norton, 1960. / Stuart, Charles. "Britten 'The Eclect ic '" in Music Survey, Vol . II , no. 4, Spring, 1950, pp. 247-250. Stuckenschmidt, Hans Heinz. Twentieth Century Music. Trans-lated from German by Richard Deveson. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969. Teele, Roy. "The Structures of the Japanese Noh Play: in Chinese and Japanese Music Dramas, ed. W. Malm and J . Crump. Ann Arbor, Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1975. WHaples, Miriam. Exoticism in Dramatic Music 1600-1800. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1959. Wharrack, John. "Britten's Curlew River". Review of f i r s t performance in Tempo, 70, Autumn, 1964, pp. 19-22. White, Er ic Walter. Benjamin Britten, a sketch of his l i f e  and works. London and New York: Boosey and Hawkes, 1954. . Benjamin Britten. His Life and Operas. London: Faber and Faber, 19 70. . The Rise of English Opera. London: J . Lehmann, 1951. Whittal l , Arnold. Music Since the F i r s t World War. London: J .M. Dent, 1977. . "Tonality in Britten's Song Cycles with Piano" in Tempo, No. 96, Spring, 1971, pp. 2-11. Williamson, Audrey. Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. London: Rockcliffe Publishing, 1953. 106 EDITIONS OF MUSIC Britten, Benjamin. Curlew River. London: Faber and Faber L t d . , 1969. Debussy, Claude. Preludes Pour Piano. Paris: Durand and Company, 1910. Gilbert and Sull ivan. The Mikado. Farnborough, England: Gregg International Publishers Limited, 1968. Lul ly , Jean-Baptiste. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Paris: ed. by Henry Prunieres, Editions de la Revue Musicale, 1938. Mozart, Wolfgang. Piano Sonatas. New York, London, Frankfurt; C F . Peters. Puccini, Giacomo. Madama Butterfly. Ricordi , 1955. Purcel l , Henry. The Fairy Queen. London: Novello and Company, 1903. 

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