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Postmodern or modern: a different approach to Darmstadt

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Attinello


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The summer courses in Darmstadt are often considered to represent a 'school' of serialism, strict formalism and high modernism. However, beginning around the time of Cage's 1958 visit and continuing until around 1968, compositions were written by composers associated with Darmstadt which can be interpreted as imaginative attacks on the forms and concepts of modernism. Philosophical constructs anticipating what were later called deconstruction and postmodernism appear as formative principles, leading towards the expansion of our philosophical understanding of changes in musical ideology. Recent research supports a less hierarchical, more diverse understanding of the Darmstadt avant-garde, acknowledging that some of the corporeal, theatrical styles of music in the 1960s are distinct from and even opposed to the serialism with which they are often grouped. This revisionist approach to Darmstadt's history helps to clarify the turning points between modernism and postmodernism in twentieth-century music and our still-blurred distinctions between those periods.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Attinello P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Contemporary Music Review, Special Issue: Other Darmstadts

Year: 2007

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 25-37

Date deposited: 08/09/2011

ISSN (print): 0749-4467

ISSN (electronic): 1477-2256

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/07494460601069176

Notes: Edited by Fox, C; Attinello, P; Iddon, M


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