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The University of Southampton

Standing in for something else: The function of notation in the reception of New Complexity. Seminar

25 February 2014
Room 1083 Building 2 Highfield Campus SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Hettie Malcomson on 023 8059 4400 or email .

Event details

Part of the Music Research Seminar series

The publication in 1988 of Richard Toop’s essay ‘Four Facets of the ‘New Complexity’’ marks the beginning of an important period in the reception and performance of music associated with New Complexity. Significantly, it is the period in which ‘the narrative of New Complexity’ emerged and solidified―precisely the narrative so firmly entrenched in the wider British art world today. (This narrative charts, in crude fashion, the last throw of the modernist dice.) Furthermore, discursive patterns during this time frequently reveal notation as the central topic of debate and discussion. While recent Anglophone reception (e.g., Taruskin 2006) has focused particularly on the function of notation in an attempt to demonise New Complexity as a compositional approach, others have argued that a focus on notational complexity misses the wider significance of performance in this repertoire (Duncan, 2010; Fitch 2008; Redgate, 1997; Toop 1988). In my talk I explore the discursive function of notation and complexity in some of the sources mentioned above, and argue that the turn to performance suggested in the work of Duncan and Fitch still has some way to go.

Reception to follow in the Arlott Bar.

Speaker information

Roddy Hawkins, The University of Manchester . Lecturer in Music

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