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Neoclassicism in British Instrumental Music 1918-45

SWEET, ELIZABETH (2023) Neoclassicism in British Instrumental Music 1918-45. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The early twentieth century saw music fracture into many individual dialects; one of the most significant of these was Neoclassicism. Given that the Neoclassical compositional aesthetic was so significant to early twentieth-century music there is relatively little written on Neoclassicism. While there has been research into the music of some British composers writing between 1918 and 1945 there has been no research into British Neoclassicism, or any attempt to create a universal model to define Neoclassical music.
This thesis is an extension of the research carried out in my MA by Thesis Neoclassicism in the Music of William Alwyn which was inspired by his turn to Neoclassicism in 1938, particularly his Divertimento for Solo Flute. It will firstly examine the state of British music in the period 1918-45 to determine the factors influencing British composers to turn to the Neoclassical aesthetic.
I will examine the roots of Neoclassicism through the French and German stems together with other manifestations of the style. I will argue that Neoclassicism is an aesthetic which represents a break from the preceding musical tradition since it looks back to pre-Romantic music for inspiration. I will outline a universal model for Neoclassicism which will attempt to reconcile the varying opinion on Neoclassicism by identifying four characteristics: old, new, borrowed, blue (anti-romantic). I will then apply that model to case studies provided by the instrumental music of ten British composers writing between 1918 and 1945. These composers will include those familiar to a general audience, but also those whose music will be less well- known.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Neoclassicism; Twentieth-century music; British music
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Nov 2023 15:20

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