Music and Ultra-Modernism in France: A Fragile Consensus, 1913-1939

Music and Ultra-Modernism in France: A Fragile Consensus, 1913-1939

Barbara L. Kelly

Hardback
$95.00

Boydell Press

Overview

Overview

Exploring the ideas of consensus, resistance and rupture, this book contributes an important and nuanced reflection to the current debate on modernism in music.
Music and Ultra-Modernism in France examines the priorities of three generational groupings: the pre-war Société Musicale Indépendente of Ravel and his circle, Les Six in the 1920s and Jeune France in 1936. Exploring the ideas of consensus, resistance and rupture, the book contributes an important and nuanced reflection to the current debate on modernism in music. It considers the roles composers, critics and biographers played in shaping debates about contemporary music, showing how composers including Ravel, Poulenc, Milhaud, Jolivet and Messiaen and critics such as Paul Landormy, André Coeuroy and Roland-Manuel often worked in partnership to bring their ideas to a public forum. It also expands the notion of 'interwar' through the essential inclusion of World War I and the years before, reconfiguring the narrative for that period.
This book challenges some of the stereotypes that characterise the period, in particular, neo-classicism and the dominance of secularism. It shows how Stravinsky worked closely with Ravel, Satie and Poulenc and invited audiences and critics to rethink what it meant to be modern. The interwar years were also marked by commemoration and loss. Debussy's wartime death in 1918 stimulated competing efforts (by Emile Vuillermoz, Léon Vallas and Henry Prunières) to shape his legacy. They were motivated by nostalgia for a lost and glorious generation and a commitment to building a legacy of French achievement. Music and Ultra-Modernism in France argues for the vitality of French music in the period 1913-39 and challenges the received view that the period and its musical culture lacked dynamism, innovation or serious musical debate.

BARBARA L. KELLY is Professor of Music at Keele University.

Details

September 2013
4 black and white, 33 line illustrations
269 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Music in Society and Culture
ISBN: 9781843838104
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC AVGC6, 1DDF, 2AB, 3JJ
BISAC MUS006000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Consensus, Resistance and New Music in France
Remembering Debussy: Nostalgia and Modernism in interwar France
Musical allegiances and factions: Ravel, Satie and the Question of Leadership
Polemics and Publicity: Composer-Critic Partnerships
Musical continuities: Sonority, Exoticism and Abstraction
In Search of the Musical esprit du temps
Surface Division, Deep Consensus: Classicism and Secularism and its Challenges
Conclusions, Music for the Patrimoine: Remembering Interwar Music in France

Reviews

A significant contribution to the field ... Kelly adds to the dynamic understanding of the period ... Due to the clear structure of each chapter and the copious attention to details, this volume will be of use to academics, students and the general interested reader alike. It will no doubt become a standard reference in the field. NOTES, March 2015

Makes an important contribution to French music studies. Beyond those with a particular interest in France, it will also be essential reading for all scholars of music's Modernisms. H-FRANCE REVIEW

Music and Ultra-Modernism in France: A Fragile Consensus, 1913-1939 presents a rich and nuanced exploration of musical Modernism within interwar France that challenges received, and accepted, understandings of this period. . . . Beyond those with a particular interest in France, it will also be essential reading for all scholars of music's Modernisms. H-FRANCE

This book contains a great deal of valuable material. MUSICAL OPINION

This book is a dazzling synthesis of materials, topics, and approaches to music historiography. It sheds new light on a period when alliances between critics and composers were paramount, when the perception of musical aims and aesthetics were considered vital to culture, and when the initiatives of musical historians actively shaped the way people thought about music and themselves. FRENCH STUDIES

Kelly's scholarship and engaging writing is of the highest order, successfully helping us to address a previous deficiency in 20th-century French musicological studies. Highly recommended. CHOICE, March 2014

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