Philip Rupprecht's "British Musical Modernism: the Manchester Group & their Contemporaries"
British Musical Modernism 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 mainland 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.