Holding it together: approaches to musical coherence after 1990

Wednesday 10 March 2010, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Mark Hutchinson (University of York)

My research focusses on the notion of musical 'coherence' within the works of a number of composers active since 1990.  Attempts (mostly misguided) to pigeonhole these composers often describe them in terms of 'posts': 'post-spectral', 'post-Darmstadt', 'post-minimalist').  The works combine a variety of different traditions and approaches in a fluid and often quite intuitive way – often leaving very little in the way of 'system' for the analyst to cling onto.

In fact, this seems to be a good thing.  In the event their works hold together both aurally and expressively, communicating in a strikingly clear way for all their breadth of reference and often-tangled construction.  How can we make some sense of this striking communicative power without getting stuck in tired old attempts at analytical over-ordering? In an attempt to find out, this paper will examine formal coherence within one representative work from this period – Adès's string quartet Arcadiana.

Location: Room 107