1st Edition

New Music Theatre in Europe Transformations between 1955-1975

Edited By Robert Adlington Copyright 2019
    348 Pages
    by Routledge

    348 Pages 59 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Between 1955 and 1975 music theatre became a central preoccupation for European composers digesting the consequences of the revolutionary experiments in musical language that followed the end of the Second World War. The ‘new music theatre’ wrought multiple, significant transformations, serving as a crucible for the experimental rethinking of theatrical traditions, artistic genres, the conventions of performance, and the composer’s relation to society. This volume brings together leading specialists from across Europe to offer a new appraisal of the genre. It is structured according to six themes that investigate: the relation of new music theatre to earlier and contemporaneous theories of drama; the use of new technologies; the relation of new music theatre to progressive politics; the role of new venues and environments; the advancement of new conceptions of the performer; and the challenges that new music theatre lays down for music analysis. Contributing authors address canonical works by composers such as Berio, Birtwistle, Henze, Kagel, Ligeti, Nono, and Zimmermann, but also expand the field to figures and artistic developments not regularly represented in existing music histories. Particular attention is given to new music theatre as a site of intense exchange – between practitioners of different art forms, across national borders, and with diverse mediating institutions.

    Introduction ROBERT ADLINGTON

    PART I: Between the avant-gardes: new music theatre and new conceptions of drama

    1. The definition of a new performance code between ‘avant-garde’ and ‘new’ theatre STEFANIA BRUNO

    2. Total theatre and music theatre: tracing influences from pre- to post-war avant-gardes JULIA H. SCHRÖDER

    3. Theatre as problem: modern drama and its influence in Ligeti, Pousseur and Berio VINCENZINA C. OTTOMANO

    PART II: Expansions of technology

    4. Audio-visual collisions: moving image technology and the Laterna Magika aesthetic in new music theatre HOLLY ROGERS

    5. Composing new media: magnetic tape technology in new music theatre, c. 1950–1970 ANDREAS MÜNZMAY

    PART III: The critique of established power

    6. Guerrilla in the Polder: Music-Theatrical Protests in the Low Countries, 1968-1969 HARM LANGENKAMP

    7. René Leibowitz’s Todos caerán: grand opéra as (critique of) new music theatreESTEBAN BUCH

    PART IV: New venues and environments

    8. A survey of new music theatre in Rome, 1961-1973: ‘anni favolosi’? ALESSANDRO MASTROPIETRO

    9. Avant-garde music theatre: the Festival d’Avignon between 1967 and 1969 JEAN-FRANÇOIS TRUBERT

    PART V: Reconceiving the performer

    10. Reconceptualising the performer in new music theatre: collaborations with actors, mimes and musicians DAVID BEARD

    11. Embodied commitments: solo performance and the making of new music theatre FRANCESCA PLACANICA

    PART VI: Analyzing new music theatre

    12. New music theatre and theories of embodied cognition BJÖRN HEILE

    13. Analyzing new music theatre: theme and variations (in a multimedial perspective) ANGELA IDA DE BENEDICTIS


    Robert Adlington holds the Queen’s Anniversary Prize Chair in Contemporary Music at the University of Huddersfield. He is author of books on Harrison Birtwistle, Louis Andriessen, and avant-garde music in 1960s Amsterdam, and editor of volumes on avant-garde music in the 1960s, and music and communism outside the communist bloc. He has written articles and chapters on Nono, Berio, musical modernism, new music theatre, and musical temporality.