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Modern Music and After Paperback – February 16, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0199740505 ISBN-10: 019974050X Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (February 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019974050X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199740505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 9.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Recommended for all libraries serving music programs at the undergraduate level or higher. There is a wealth of information here, and few write as knowledgeably and engagingly on new music as Griffiths." --Fontes Artis Musicae


"Griffiths has done an outstanding job of making this music at least intellectually accessible. It is our job as listeners, if we seriously care, to seek it out and try to encounter it on its own terms. Highly recommended for libraries with sections on new music, composition, music theory and contemporary aesthetics/philosophy." --Music Media Monthly


"Modern Music and After remains as close a definitive survey, study, guide and analysis to its field as there is; it can be recommended without reservation. The standards of scholarship and authorship are indeed high....Production standards, are of course, high; and the price is beyond reasonable -- that alone should convince you to buy this third edition, even if you've read the earlier one(s)...the updates and referencing are significant. For a comprehensive, readable, authoritative, entertaining, lively, open-minded and all round well-written book on the development of music in our time, there is no better." --Classical.net


"Recommended for all libraries serving music programs at the undergraduate level or higher. There is a wealth of information here, and few write as knowledgeably and engagingly on new music as Griffiths." --Fontes Artis Musicae



Praise for the first edition:


"Griffiths is excellent about a whole host of composers he admires....Any reader, enthusiast or specialist, will find much to interest and provoke. This book is probably the best of its kind in English today."--Ian Pace, Tempo: Quarterly Review of Modern Music


"Griffiths is so fluent, so practiced a writer in this field that it is understandable if the closest he gets to sceptical disengagement is in suggesting that a composer leaves critics, and even musicologists, lost for words." --Arnold Whittall, The Musical Times


"[A] marvellously thought-provoking and engaging text."--The Musical Times


"A must for the student, and also for the general reader."--The Times


"As impressive for its accuracy, as for the clarity, acumen, and wit of its writing." --Classical Music


About the Author


Paul Griffiths is an acclaimed writer on contemporary and classical music whose books include A Concise History of Western Music and The Penguin Companion to Classical Music. He is also known as a librettist (Elliott Carter's What Next? ) and novelist. In 2002, Griffiths was honored by the French government as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

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Customer Reviews

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Pretty thorough and engaging.
demo
MODERN MUSIC AND AFTER is indispensable for anyone trying to understand the rich complexities of contemporary composition.
Autonomeus
There was a minimal amount of subjective characterizations by Mr. Griffiths that I really appreciated.
Paul J. Jacobs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on May 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
MODERN MUSIC AND AFTER should really be kept in print, though the market may be small, as it is the best book on the subject. It serves, among other things, as the best record guide to the post-war avant-garde that I've found, although since '95 it has become somewhat outdated.

Griffiths imbues the story of the serialist avant-garde with high drama. The hero of his story is Pierre Boulez. Messiaen is the mentor, and Stockhausen the brother, a source of friendly but intense rivalry. Schoenberg is the father figure who Boulez "kills" even as he carries on his tradition, but of course crediting Webern. The history gives a palpable sense of the excitement of this avant-garde circle, which came together at Darmstadt. Cage and his zen anarchism presents a radical challenge to the integral serialist Project, and begins to explode it.

This takes us through the 1950s. The second part of the book is equally good, as the linear sense of progress unravels in the 1960s and '70s and fragmentation sets in. A fascinating development which Griffiths documents, but does not comment on, is the resurgence of sacred music as the secular avant-garde disintegrates. The Estonian composer Arvo Part is but one example of this trend, what might be called the reassertion of the pre-modern in the context of the post-modern. The third section is not as good, and resembles other similar books in being more an encyclopedia of entries on various composers and trends. There doesn't seem to be much alternative to this for now, but it's interesting to imagine how the present period may be reconstructed in light of future developments...

In his introduction Griffiths laments the loss of a sense of shared criteria for evaluating the diverse music of the moment.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By scarecrow VINE VOICE on December 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
My writer brethren here neglected to mention that Griffiths in this reissue,brings us up-to-date a way of completing the tale he began over 20 years ago. Since that time composers have either grown up or become more important, some have fallen from graces completly. Brian Ferneyhough has grown up and Griffiths here gives ample evidence although brief and outlines in form, you read it,and it points you toward a greater exploration of his music. Likewise Morton Feldman became fascinated with the set of problematics concerning longer lengths in music's construction. Likewise the late Luigi Nono, this is the first real description in English of his summary work Prometeo,and gives a good perspective on him.Likewise the late Cage is discussed. Griffiths now writes for the New York Times, and he breathes some new life there of a seasoned reviewer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Griffiths gives a survey that is clear, insightful and accessable to both musician and educated listener. After poring over many such books (twentieth century musical surveys), Griffths was a exciting and fun read. The detail on composition in the 1940', 50's and 60's is particularly well organized and concise, as well as ironing out many misconceptions regarding 'modernism' and serialism , to which many texts on modern music have fallen prey. The book is useful both for a didactic text and reference text. Unfortunately the latter half of the book, detailing composition in the 1970's, 80's and 90's, is not as well organized as the first half. The structure of Griffiths' discussion becomes less chronologically linear, focusing on individual concepts and composers, that (particularly in the last section 'strings and knots') seems to be in no particular order. Grittiths also seems less objective in the second half, betraying an odor of postmodern polemic. However, the discussion remains insightful thoughout, and still comprises one of the best texts that I've read on music after WWII.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dizaner on April 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This certainly is the book to get the low-down on contemporary music. However, here a few points of interest:
Firstly, I think the most glaring omission is Louis Andriessen, who not only co-wrote The Apollonian Clockwork, but has also composed some of the most important and exciting non-Webernian music around. What is especially important about Andriessen is that his own 'minimal' style is fully aware of the Modernist heritage at the same time as it critiques or refutes it, as oppoesed to others who just dismiss it outright and have no real understanding of post-Webernian serialism. Also, Andriessen's continuing political ideals make him an interesting study in current musico-poltical relations (now that most are dead: Nono, Cardew; or just write rubbish: Henze).
In fact, while I am no authority on comtemporary Dutch music, I certainly know no more about it through reading this book. Which brings me to my second point: the Anglo-West Europe-American-centricity.
Not only does he leave out the Netherlands, Finland, Scandinavia, South America, as well as the bizarre history of post-war Polish music, but also Australia and (South East) Asia. Now while I am no doubt partisan, his only mention of Australia is one line about the Elision Ensemble in relation to Richard Barrett, Chris Dench, and Finnissy. I think Australia has some of the best composers anywhere (Liza Lim, for instance), writing from a variety of perspectives and a fuller account of these
place-specific musics would have interesting, for instance examination of Australia's liminal position between Europe and Asia and how that affects attitudes to composition.
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