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The Symphonies of John Kinsella

DE-BARRA, SEAMAS (2012) The Symphonies of John Kinsella. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Séamas de Barra
The Symphonies of John Kinsella
This thesis offers the first comprehensive analytical and critical study of the symphonies of John Kinsella (b. 1932), one of the leading figures in contemporary Irish music. This cycle of ten works represents the most substantial contribution to the genre by an Irish composer, and Kinsella’s varied handling to the form is examined and discussed in relation both to historical and contemporary developments. While his understanding of musical structure and the manner in which he shapes musical time are deeply indebted to the work of Jean Sibelius, Kinsella’s compositional idiom is derived from a personal adaptation of serialism in which the technique of the note-row is manipulated to readmit the forces of tonal attraction. The result of these twin influences is an arrestingly individual approach to composition, the development of which is traced across the cycle as each of the symphonies in turn is subjected to extensive analysis. Because he chose to pursue an independent path in the 1980s, Kinsella seemed a somewhat isolated figure to his contemporaries. Retrospectively, his work can be seen as instinctively in tune with broader developments, however, as both serialism (understood as a way of thinking rather than as a style) and the music of Sibelius have emerged as two of the dominant influences on current musical thinking.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Kinsella, John; Symphony; Irish Contemporary Music
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:28 May 2013 14:28

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