1st Edition

The Routledge Research Companion to Modernism in Music

Edited By Björn Heile, Charles Wilson Copyright 2019
    536 Pages
    by Routledge

    534 Pages 45 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Modernism in music still arouses passions and is riven by controversies. Taking root in the early decades of the twentieth century, it achieved ideological dominance for almost three decades following the Second World War, before becoming the object of widespread critique in the last two decades of the century, both from critics and composers of a postmodern persuasion and from prominent scholars associated with the ‘new musicology’. Yet these critiques have failed to dampen its ongoing resilience. The picture of modernism has considerably broadened and diversified, and has remained a pivotal focus of debate well into the twenty-first century. This Research Companion does not seek to limit what musical modernism might be. At the same time, it resists any dilution of the term that would see its indiscriminate application to practically any and all music of a certain period.

    In addition to addressing issues already well established in modernist studies such as aesthetics, history, institutions, place, diaspora, cosmopolitanism, production and performance, communication technologies and the interface with postmodernism, this volume also explores topics that are less established; among them: modernism and affect, modernism and comedy, modernism versus the ‘contemporary’, and the crucial distinction between modernism in popular culture and a ‘popular modernism’, a modernism of the people. In doing so, this text seeks to define modernism in music by probing its margins as much as by restating its supposed essence.

    Introduction Björn Heile and Charles Wilson

    Part I Foundations

    1: The Birth of Modernism – Out of the Spirit of Comedy James R. Currie

    2: What Was Contemporary Music? The New, the Modern and the Contemporary in the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) Sarah Collins

    3: Institutions, Artworlds, New Music Martin Iddon

    4: Modernism and History David J. Code

    5: Musical Modernity, the Beautiful and the Sublime Edward Campbell

    Part II Positions

    6: Reactive Modernism J. P. E. Harper-Scott

    7: Musical Modernism, Global: Comparative Observations  Björn Heile

    8: Musical Modernism and Exile: Cliché as Hermeneutic Tool Eva Moreda Rodríguez

    9: Modernism: The People’s Music? Robert Adlington

    10: Modernism for and of the Masses? On Popular Modernisms Stephen Graham

    11: Times Like the Present: De-limiting Music in the Twenty-First Century Charles Wilson

    12: The Composer as Communication Theorist M.J. Grant

    13: How Does Modernist Music Make You Feel? Between Subjectivity and Affect Trent Leipert

    Part III Practices

    14: Between Modernism and Postmodernism: Structure and Expression in John Adams, Kaija Saariaho and Thomas Adès Alastair Williams

    15: Foundations and Fixations: Continuities in British Musical Modernism Arnold Whittall

    16: The Balinese Moment in the Montreal New Music Scene as a Regional Modernism Jonathan Goldman

    17: Vers une écriture liminale: Serialism, Spectralism and Écriture in the Transitional Music of Gérard Grisey Liam Cagney

    18: Contemporary Opera and the Failure of Language Amy Bauer

    19: ‘Es klang so alt und war doch so neu!’: Modernist Operatic Culture through the Prism of Staging 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' Mark Berry

    20: The Modernism of the Mainstream: An Early Twentieth-Century Ideology of Violin Playing Stefan Knapik


    Björn Heile is Professor of Music (post-1900) at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of The Music of Mauricio Kagel (Ashgate, 2006), the editor of The Modernist Legacy: Essays on New Music (Ashgate, 2009), co-editor (with Martin Iddon) of Mauricio Kagel bei den Darmstädter Ferienkursen für Neue Musik: Eine Dokumentation (2009) and co-editor (with Peter Elsdon and Jenny Doctor) of Watching Jazz: Encountering Jazz Performance on Screen (2016), plus many other publications on new music, experimental music theatre and jazz. Among other projects, he is trying to write a book on the global history of musical modernism.

    Charles Wilson was Senior Editor for twentieth-century composers on the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and currently lectures at the School of Music, Cardiff University. He served as Editor-in-Chief (2009–12) of the journal Twentieth-Century Music. His research focuses on the relationship between historiography and practice (both personal and institutional) in the art music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.