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Avant Garde: An American Odyssey from Gertrude Stein to Pierre Boulez (Hardback)
  • Avant Garde: An American Odyssey from Gertrude Stein to Pierre Boulez (Hardback)
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Avant Garde: An American Odyssey from Gertrude Stein to Pierre Boulez (Hardback)

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£65.00
Hardback 340 Pages / Published: 01/03/2012
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In Avant Garde: An American Odyssey from Gertrude Stein to Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen specialist Robin Maconie reconsiders the role of music and music technology through careful examination of key modern concepts with respect to time, existence, identity, and relationship as formulated by such thinkers as Einstein, Russell, Whitehead, and Gertrude Stein, along with Freud, Schoenberg, Wittgenstein, and Marcel Duchamp.

Publisher: Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 9780810883123
Number of pages: 340
Weight: 585 g
Dimensions: 222 x 145 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Robin Maconie brings to these essays on the avant-garde a deep knowledge and understanding of contemporary music, including Boulez, Stockhausen, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Messiaen, Ives, Cage, Babbitt, Carter, Berio, Varese and many others. From this core his investigations reach out to embrace other media and disciplines, especially literature (Artaud, Breton, Beckett, William Carlos Williams, e. e. cummings, Gertrude Stein), the visual arts (Picasso, Klee, Duchamp), film (Eisenstein, Bunuel, Disney), philosophy (Adorno, Wittgenstein, Saussure, Whitehead, Freud, McLuhan) and the information sciences. At the core of the book are profound reflections on the relationship between avant-garde music and philosophical investigations into the nature of time and knowledge acquisition on both sides of the Atlantic. Although the primary references are to twentieth century developments in Western Europe (especially France and Germany) and the United States, Maconie, because of his South Pacific origins, brings to contemporary culture a refreshing and sometimes surprising `Klingon perspective on Western civilisation'. Lively, opinionated, witty, these essays continuously inform, entertain and engage; above all they constitute an impassioned defence of the utility, beauty and relevance of the avant-garde (especially in music) against its detractors in politics and science. * The Holloway Press *
Maconie, a New Zealand-based writer and composer, covers a great deal of ground in this collection of 16 essays. The author studied with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) and has written extensively on the man and his works (cf. Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, CH, Oct'05, 43-0850). It is thus unsurprising that Stockhausen figures prominently here. Maconie discusses Stockhausen's music alongside that of Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Milton Babbitt, and others. He pays particular attention to connections between music and language, especially as regards electronic music and the manipulation of recordings of the human voice. Maconie situates his comments on the musical avant-garde within a much broader context of art, philosophy, history, film, literature, language, and science. The subtitle is inapt; the author gives European composers, artists, and thinkers at least as much attention as their American counterparts. The speed with which Maconie moves from one subject to another occasionally makes his point difficult to follow. But this collection is interesting for the many interesting cross-disciplinary connections it brings to light. Summing Up: Recommended. * CHOICE *
So much to tell, so little space - a mere 309 pages for all the facts, opinions and sidetracks Robin Maconie crams into Avant Garde, reaching out beyond what his subtitle, An American Odyssey from Gertrude Stein to Pierre Boulez, suggests. Maconie can be stimulating, searching and provocative on music and much else. It's that "much else" that makes him stimulating. It's his distaste for any complacent listening that makes him provocative. It's his searching mind that produces sentences that start with Mozart's Magic Flute and by way of Captain Cook and Sydney Parkinson end up at James Cameron's movie Avatar. It all makes for "high alert, keep your eyes on the logic" reading, so don't let your attention wander for a second or you'll need to read each sentence again, and then again with reference books, a good library and a stiff whisky close by. * New Zealand Listener *
New Zealand native Robin Maconie [. . ..] is considered one of the world's leading authorities on contemporary music. -- Albrecht Thiemann * Opernwelt, (November, 2012) *
Over the course of this book's 309 pages, New Zealand author Robin Maconie takes the reader on a decidedly idiosyncratic, but always stimulating voyage through 20th-century music and its environs. Although the book is unarguably musico-centric, Maconie's frame of reference is huge, taking in popular cinema, the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, the American writer Gertrude Stein and the mathematician/philosopher Alfred North Whitehead....Maconie's impressive zig-zaggeries of thought, his occasional witticisms (when they come, they're good) and his infernally wide frame of reference deliver an undeniably exhilarating ride. * Tempo *
Avant Garde is a balance between these: a discourse focused on the relationship between the information and music communities as exhibited primarily in Stockhausen's music. In this book, Maconie works to draw connections....The analysis...is clear and useful. * Music Reference Services Quarterly *

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