Schoenberg's death in 1951 marked the end of an era which has been dominated by some of the most radical artistic re-thinking and innovation since the Renaissance. The second half of the century saw a new generation of composers, schooled at Darmstadt, Cologne, Paris, Cracow, Manchester and elsewhere, which began to make its mark on the development of European and world music. The revolutionary pulpit of Schoenberg had become the play-pen of Boulez and Stockhausen. This series of handbooks devoted to single seminal compositions or groups of works by important composers who have been active since 1950 fills a major gap in current music literature. Well-informed, focused commentaries that are more detailed than record notes, give readers an enhanced understanding and appreciation of some of the most significant musical achievements of the last half-century. Each handbook features: Â· A general introduction to the choice of work under discussion Â· Details of the commission and composition history Â· Contextual discussion of stylistic, generic and international influences and precedents Â· A description and analysis of the work Â· A survey of its reception Â· A bibliography and discography Â· CD recording
Harrison Birtwistle: The Mask of Orpheus
Thomas Adès: Asyla
Robert Saxton: Caritas
Louis Andriessen: De Staat
Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Zeitmaße
Iannis Xenakis: Kraanerg
By Jonathan Cross
August 19, 2019
Hailed at its premiere at the London Coliseum in 1986 as the most important musical and theatrical event of the decade, The Mask of Orpheus is undoubtedly a key work in Harrison Birtwistle's output. His subsequent stage and concert pieces demand to be evaluated in its light. Increasingly, it is ...
By Edward Venn
March 07, 2019
Thomas Adès (b. 1971) is an established international figure, both as composer and performer, with popular and critical acclaim and admiration from around the world. Edward Venn examines in depth one of Adès’s most significant works so far, his orchestral Asyla (1997). Its blend of virtuosic ...
By Wyndham Thomas
May 22, 2017
Caritas relates the 'true', yet largely undocumented story of Christine Carpenter, a 14th-century anchoress who moves towards insanity as her desire for a divine revelation continues to be unfulfilled after a period of three years locked in her cell. Although physically isolated, she is aware of ...
By Robert Adlington
July 03, 2017
Louis Andriessen is one of the foremost composers in the world today. His music, with its distinctive blend of jazz, minimalism, Stravinsky and the European avant-garde, has attracted wide audiences internationally and made him a sought-after teacher among younger generations of composers. De Staat...
By Nigel Simeone
May 31, 2017
One of the Broadway musicals that can genuinely claim to have transformed the genre, West Side Story has been featured in many books on Broadway, but it has yet to be the focus of a scholarly monograph. Nigel Simeone begins by exploring the long process of creating West Side Story, including a ...
By Michael Downes
December 23, 2009
Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012) was one of Britain's leading composers: his music is frequently performed throughout Europe, the United States (where he lived and worked) and Japan. He is particularly renowned for his electro-acoustic music, an aspect on which most previous writing on his work has ...
By Jerome Kohl
December 05, 2016
Zeitmaße is one of a group of four acknowledged masterpieces composed between 1955 and 1957 that together established Karlheinz Stockhausen as the leading figure in the European avant-garde. Of the four works, it is the only one that has not been thoroughly analysed from the composer's sketches and...
By James Harley
August 28, 2015
Kraanerg by Iannis Xenakis is one of the most important works of the post-1950 era. James Harley, a leading Xenakis scholar, presents the genesis of Kraanerg, from the granting of the commission to the choreographer, to the selection of Xenakis as composer, to the premiere, recording, and ...
By Peter Hill, Nigel Simeone
June 28, 2007
What makes Oiseaux exotiques so important is that it is arguably the first of Messiaen's major works to create a successful synthesis between his music and his passion for ornithology. The earliest composition to use birdsong to a significant extent was the Quatuor pour la fin du Temps (1940-41). A...
By David Fanning
July 26, 2004
When it was first performed in October 1960, Shostakovich's Eighth String Quartet was greeted with a standing ovation and given a full encore. Its popularity has continued to the present day with over a hundred commercial recordings appearing during the last 40 years. The appeal of the work is ...