Investigations with accompanying CD into the influence of Eastern music on Britten's composition.Benjamin Britten's strong interest in the musical traditions of the Far East had a far-reaching influence on his compositional style; this book is the first to investigate the highly original cross-cultural synthesis he was able to achieve through the use of material borrowed from Balinese, Japanese and Indian music. Britten's visit to Indonesia and Japan in 1955-6 is reconstructed from archival sources, and shown to have had a profound impact on his subsequent work: the techniques of Balinese gamelan music were used in the ballet The Prince of the Pagodas (1957), and then became an essential feature of Britten's compositional style, at their most potent in Death in Venice (1973); and the No drama and Gagaku court music of Japan were the inspiration for the trilogy of church parables Britten composed in the 1960s. The precise nature of these influences is discussed; Britten's sporadic borrowings from Indian music are also fully analysed. There is a survey of critical response to Britten's cross-cultural experiments.
Accompanying CD of original Balinese, Japanese and Indian recordings used by Britten as source material.