The Modernist Legacy: Essays on New Music: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Modernist Legacy: Essays on New Music

1st Edition

Edited by Björn Heile


276 pages

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This collection of essays offers a historical reappraisal of what musical modernism was, and what its potential for the present and future could be. It thus moves away from the binary oppositions that have beset twentieth-century music studies in the past, such as those between modernism and postmodernism, between conceptions of musical autonomy and of cultural contingency and between formalist-analytical and cultural-historical approaches. Focussing particularly on music from the 1970s to the 1990s, the volume assembles approaches from different perspectives to new music with a particular emphasis on a critical reassessment of the meaning and function of the legacy of musical modernism. The authors include scholars, musicologists and composers who combine culturally, socially, historically and aesthetically oriented approaches with analytical methods in imaginative ways.


’This collection present[s] ways in which we might (and must) reconsider modernism, enlarging our understanding of its breadth, depth and reach, and projecting a happier future for its reception. It does this through the sharpness of its arguments for the expressive, technical and social achievements of musical modernism. … this is a collection of top-drawer contributions, intelligently compiled and thoroughly polished for publication.’ Tempo

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: new music and the modernist legacy, Björn Heile; Part I New Music , Social Debates and the Aesthetics of Critical Modernism: Modernism's moment of plenitude, Andrew Timms; Fields of rubble: on the poetics of music after the post modern, John Croft; Spectralism, politics and the post-industrial imagination, Eric Drott; The scream in avant-garde music: the new left and the rediscovery of the body, Beate Kutschke; Verbal discourse as aesthetic arbitrator in contemporary music, Ian Pace; Weltmusik and the globalization of new music, Björn Heile. Part II Aspects of Compositional Poetics: Temps perdu: Aldo Clementi and the eclipse of music as praxis, David Osmond-Smith; Feldman - Beckett - Johns: patterning, memory and subjectivity, Catherine Laws; Brian Fernyhough, 'postmodern modernist', Lois Fitch; The electroacoustic music of Henri Pousseur and the 'open' form, John Dack; Self-portrait with Boulez and Machaut (and Ligeti is there as well): Harrison Birtwistles's Hoquetus Petrus, Mark Delaere; Local polymetric structures in Elliott Carters 90+ for Piano (1994), Ève Poudrier; Select bibliography; Index.

About the Editor

Björn Heile is Lecturer in Music and Head of Department at the University of Sussex, UK. He is the author of The Music of Mauricio Kagel as well as numerous other publications, mostly on new music and experimental music theatre.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General