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'Dancing on the edge of the volcano': French music in the 1930s.

Mawer, D. H. (2006) 'Dancing on the edge of the volcano': French music in the 1930s. In: French Music since Berlioz. Ashgate, pp. 249-280. ISBN 0754602826

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Abstract

This chapter posits that there is a distinct spiritual dimension that increases in intensity through the 1930s, superseding the preoccupations with exoticism and neoclassicism; in challenging the canon, it analyses largely unfamiliar compositions of Ibert, Roussel, through to the unjustly overlooked Jolivet, who arguably eclipses Messiaen at this time. These achievements are scrutinized within a complex and diversifying sociocultural context, in which popular music and widening leisure activities, coupled by economic hardship, create testing conditions for the composition of new music. Detailed engagement en route with the journal, La Revue Musicale, provides a barometer to measure contemporary artistic opinion.

Item Type: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings
Additional Information: Contributors to this edited book, which aims to create a successor to Martin Cooper's classic text, include highly-regarded scholars on French music such as Robert Orledge, Roy Howat, Richard Langham Smith and Nigel Simeone. David Grayson, University of Minnesota has asserted that 'This impressive volume will surely be welcomed by scholars, students [and] performers' (endorsement). In French musical culture, the 1930s has typically been viewed (or ignored) as a dull, unproductive interregnum between the lively 1920s and the trenchant postwar modernism of Messiaen and Boulez. The invited chapter (the largest in the book) contests this stance aesthetically and musically; Hugh Macdonald, Washington University, USA, has commented that: 'the 1930s, normally assumed to be barren, are brought to life by Deborah Mawer'. Similarly, for Simon Wright (Brio, 2006) 'Mawer challenges established views about this decade in French music'. This chapter posits that there is a distinct spiritual dimension that increases in intensity through the 1930s, superseding the preoccupations with exoticism and neoclassicism; in challenging the canon, it analyses largely unfamiliar compositions of Ibert, Roussel, through to the unjustly overlooked Jolivet, who arguably eclipses Messiaen at this time. These achievements are scrutinized within a complex and diversifying sociocultural context, in which popular music and widening leisure activities, coupled by economic hardship, create testing conditions for the composition of new music. Detailed engagement en route with the journal, La Revue Musicale, provides a barometer to measure contemporary artistic opinion. This chapter led to another, developed from an invited international conference paper, entitled 'Jolivet's Search for a New French Voice' in Barbara L Kelly (ed), Music, Culture and National Identity in France (1870-1939), Rochester University Press, forthcoming May 2008. RAE_import_type : Chapter in book RAE_uoa_type : LICA
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
ID Code: 4237
Deposited By: ep_importer
Deposited On: 29 Feb 2008 11:49
Refereed?: No
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 20:43
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/4237

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