1st Edition

The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music

By Keith Potter, Kyle Gann Copyright 2013
    464 Pages
    by Routledge

    Continue Shopping

    In recent years the music of minimalist composers such as La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass has, increasingly, become the subject of important musicological reflection, research and debate. Scholars have also been turning their attention to the work of lesser-known contemporaries such as Phill Niblock and Eliane Radigue, or to second and third generation minimalists such as John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Michael Nyman and William Duckworth, whose range of styles may undermine any sense of shared aesthetic approach but whose output is still to a large extent informed by the innovative work of their minimalist predecessors. Attempts have also been made by a number of academics to contextualise the work of composers who have moved in parallel with these developments while remaining resolutely outside its immediate environment, including such diverse figures as Karel Goeyvaerts, Robert Ashley, Arvo Pärt and Brian Eno. Theory has reflected practice in many respects, with the multimedia works of Reich and Glass encouraging interdisciplinary approaches, associations and interconnections. Minimalism’s role in culture and society has also become the subject of recent interest and debate, complementing existing scholarship, which addressed the subject from the perspective of historiography, analysis, aesthetics and philosophy. The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music provides an authoritative overview of established research in this area, while also offering new and innovative approaches to the subject.

    Contents: Foreword; Introduction: experimental, minimalist, postminimalist? Origins, definitions, communities, Kyle Gann, Keith Potter and Pwyll ap Siôn; Part I Historical and Regional Perspectives: Mapping early minimalism, Keith Potter; A technically definable stream of postminimalism, its characteristics and its meaning, Kyle Gann; European minimalism and the modernist problem, Maarten Beirens; Systems and other minimalism in Britain, Virginia Anderson. Part II Minimalism and the Theatre: Minimalism in the time-based arts: dance, film and video, Dean Suzuki; From minimalist music to postopera: repetition, representation and (post)modernity in the operas of Philip Glass and Louis Andriessen, Jelena Novak; Accommodating the threat of the machine: the act of repetition in live performance, Jeremy Peyton Jones. Part III Minimalism and Other Media: Minimalism, technology and electronic music, Richard Glover; Minimalist and postminimalist music in multimedia: from the avant-garde to the blockbuster film, Rebecca M. Doran Eaton; Going with the flow: minimalism as cultural practice in the USA since 1945, Robert Fink; Disaffected sounds, temporalized visions: Philip Glass and the audiovisual impulse in postminimalist music, John Richardson and Susanna Välimäki. Part IV Analytical and Philosophical Perspectives: Analysing minimalist and postminimalist music: an overview of methodologies, Tristian Evans; Reference and quotation in minimalist and postminimalist music, Pwyll ap Siôn; Minimalism and narrativity: some stories by Steve Reich, John Pymm; A theoretical model of postminimalism and two brief ’case studies’, Marija Masnikosa. Part V Minimalism and Beyond: Defining ’spiritual minimalism’ David Dies; Minimalism and pop: influence, reaction, consequences, Jonathan W. Bernard; Musical minimalism in Serbia: emergence, beginnings and its creative endeavours, Dragana Stojanovic-Novicic. Part VI Issues of Performance: Clapping Music: a performer’s perspective,


    Keith Potter is Reader in Music at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is currently Director of Postgraduate Research in Music. His many publications covering various areas of contemporary music have particularly emphasized British and American work. The author of Four Musical Minimalists: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass (2000), he was the co-founder and, for seventeen years, the Chief Editor of Contact: a journal of contemporary music, and also for ten years a regular music critic on The Independent daily newspaper. From 2007 he has been a founding committee member of the Society for Minimalist Music and is presently its Chair. Kyle Gann is a composer and was new-music critic for the Village Voice from 1986 to 2005. Since 1997 he has taught at Bard College. He is the author of The Music of Conlon Nancarrow; American Music in the 20th Century; Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice; No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's 4'33"; Robert Ashley (University of Illinois Press, 2012), and the introduction to the 50th anniversary edition of Cage's Silence (Wesleyan University Press, 2011). Gann studied composition with Ben Johnston, Morton Feldman, and Peter Gena. His research into postminimalist music has been generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Pwyll ap Siôn is senior lecturer at Bangor University, Wales. His monograph on The Music of Michael Nyman was published by Ashgate Publishing in 2007. He has recently edited Michael Nyman’s collected writings for publication. As composer, he has written for bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He writes regularly for Gramophone magazine.

    ’This is an extremely welcome addition to the growing literature on minimalist and postminimalist music. Its diversity of approaches, variety of topics and perspectives, and varied array of authors successfully quashes any reservations that might be made about a book with such a title. The Introduction provides a splendid summary of the historical and contemporary situation whilst demonstrating awareness of (and successfully tackling) the many complications, complexities and ambiguities of the term 'minimalism'. It serves as an excellent introduction to the book but is also an intelligent and engaging exploration of the core and tangential repertoire. The book adds up to a fascinating study and will be much valued by non-academic and academic readers both within and outside of the academy alike.’ Philip Thomas, University of Huddersfield, UK ’Nearly every author you might want to contribute to a book like this has been included ... high levels of insight and approachability’. Tempo ’ ... the book manages to give a fair sense of the diffusion of minimalism as it flowed out beyond its (mainly) American wellsprings and of how its consequent enrichment or dilution (according to taste) has been able to achieve and then sustain such a prominent position in our 'consumer culture'. ... it cannot be accused of exaggerating the impact minimalism continues to have on contemporary culture, and contemporary musical life. It does justice to the ambivalent times’. The Musical Times '... this is an essential addition to the growing scholarship on minimalism. These twenty-two chapters contain a wealth of ideas that I believe will be used as a standard reference for music undergraduates, graduates, and professionals for years to come.' Canadian Association of Music Libraries Review ’... accessible to a range of readers; the research community that the volume’s title suggests is its target audience but also for others approaching the subject from another discipline