This book explores the works of eleven key composers to reveal the rapid shifts of expression and technique that transformed British art music in the post-war period. Responding to radical avant-garde developments in post-war Europe, the Manchester Group composers - Alexander Goehr, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Harrison Birtwistle - and their contemporaries assimilated the serial-structuralist preoccupations of mid-century internationalism to an art grounded in resurgent local traditions. In close readings of some thirty-five scores, Philip Rupprecht traces a modernism suffused with the formal elegance of the 1950s, the exuberant theatricality of the 1960s, and - in the works of David Bedford and Tim Souster - the pop, minimalist, and live-electronic directions of the early 1970s. Setting music-analytic insights against a broader social-historical backdrop, Rupprecht traces a British musical modernism that was at once a collective artistic endeavor, and a sounding myth of national identity.
Between nationalism and the avant-garde : defining British modernism -- Post-war motifs -- Manchester avant-garde : Goehr, Davies, and Birtwistle to 1960 -- A Manchester generation in Paris, London, and Rome : Musgrave, Maw, Crosse, and Bennett -- Group portrait in the Sixties : Davies, Birtwistle, and Goehr to 1967 -- Instrumental drama : Musgrave and Birtwistle in the late Sixties -- Vernaculars : Bedford and Souster as pop musicians
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