AQA: GCE Music Unit 4 AoS3a - English choral music in the 20th century – Rhinegold Publishing

AQA: GCE Music Unit 4 AoS3a - English choral music in the 20th century


AQA’s Area of Study 3a concerns ‘the development of English choral music in the 20th century with reference to:

  • anthems and mass settings
  • oratorios and other orchestral settings of words.

Composers might include: Elgar, Walton, Britten, Howells, Vaughan Williams.’

In this present article, we briefly consider Elgar’s The Apostles rather than the relatively well-known Dream of Gerontius. There are also sections on Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Britten’s War Requiem, and references to other pieces from the categories listed in the bullet points above.

Comments concern context first and foremost, to help supply essential background. Extended remarks on musical features are necessarily limited, but should provide some stimulus to further research. References to various printed and online resources also point the way to additional investigation.

Listening to any music selected for study is vital. All works referred to are readily available online (eg via YouTube or from iTunes), and/or from CDs, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. Some students may have opportunities to perform as well as listen, in choral societies, church choirs, or at school or college. For concise definitions of unfamiliar musical vocabulary, see for example Rhinegold Dictionary of Music in Sound by David Bowman (Rhinegold Education, 2002), volume 1.

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