Imaginative analytical and critical work on British music of the early twentieth century has been hindered by perceptions of the repertory as insular in its references and backward in its style and syntax, escaping the modernity that surrounded its composers. Recent research has begun to break down these perceptions and has found intriguing links between British music and modernism. This book brings together contributions from scholars working in analysis, hermeneutics, reception history, critical theory and the history of ideas. Three overall themes emerge from its chapters: accounts of British reactions to Continental modernism and the forms they took; links between music and the visual arts; and analysis and interpretation of compositions in the light of recent theoretical work on form, tonality and pitch organization.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Matthew Riley; Liberal critics and modern music in the post-Victorian age, Matthew Riley; 'A thoroughgoing modern': Elgar reception in the Manchester Guardian 1896-1908, Meirion Hughes; Schoenberg, Roger Fry and the emergence of a critical language for the reception of musical modernism in Britain 1912-1914, Deborah Heckert; Modernism, Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes in London 1911-1929, Gareth Thomas; Modern maritime pastoral: wave deformations in the music of Frank Bridge, Stephen Downes; 'A direct and intimate realization': Holst and formalism in the 1920s, Christopher M. Scheer; FaÃ§ades for FaÃ§ade: William Walton, visual culture and English modernism in the Sitwell circle, Tim Barringer; Landscape and distance: Vaughan Williams, modernism and the symphonic pastoral, Daniel M. Grimley; Vaughan Williams's antic symphony, J.P.E. Harper-Scott; Hindemith's disciple in London: Walter Leigh on modern music 1932-1940, Thomas Irvine; Benjamin Britten's 'Pierrot' ensembles, Christopher Dromey; Music for the machines of the future: H.G. Wells, Arthur Bliss and Things to Come (1936), Matthew Riley; Early music and the ambivalent origins of Elisabeth Lutyens's modernism, Laurel Parsons; 'The real thing - at last'? Historicizing Humphrey Searle, Ben Earle; Index.
'... the overriding impression is that the book provides a series of case studies into how worthwhile, detailed research into this period of British music can be undertaken. The results are often remarkable, and this book is essential reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century British music or the development of modernist music more generally.' Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland
'...a refreshing contrast to the heavy-handedness of much literary criticism', The Journal of the H.G. Wells Society