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Philip Rupprecht
Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)
Avant-Garde Nation: British Musical Modernism, 1956-1979

The book is a cultural and critical history of the first generation of British composers to be publicly identified as a musical avant garde in the 1950s and after. Interweaving close readings of some 50 works by 17 composers, the book traces shifts of expression and technique--from 1950s structural rigor through more dramatic 1960s works to the improvisatory tone of the 1970s. I situate this music within a post-1945 European scene, poised between ideals of international exchange and the re-building of local cultures. Audiences recognized progressive British composers as creators of a national art form in dialogue with European innovators. Tracing a public discourse around art, I stress the role of stereotype in defining a myth of collective identity. British culture, in the post-Empire moment, encompasses both subtle evocations of Tudor church music and the escapism of Fleming's "Bond" novels. Orchestral and literary codes may differ, but both display images of the modern nation.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2013 – 6/30/2014