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Constant Lambert: Dionysian Modernist

Smith, Anthony Hunter

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This thesis considers the music of the English composer Constant Lambert (1905–51) against the background of European modernism. It argues that Lambert absorbed influences and stylistic trends from various strands of the modernist movement, achieving a unique synthesis that may be termed Dionysian modernism. Dionysian modernism emphasizes such topics as excess, transgression, liminality, disruption, and fragmentation, and in so doing engages dialectically with...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorSmith, Anthony Hunter
dc.date.accessioned2017-06-26T04:45:12Z
dc.date.available2017-06-26T04:45:12Z
dc.identifier.otherb44883687
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/118245
dc.description.abstractThis thesis considers the music of the English composer Constant Lambert (1905–51) against the background of European modernism. It argues that Lambert absorbed influences and stylistic trends from various strands of the modernist movement, achieving a unique synthesis that may be termed Dionysian modernism. Dionysian modernism emphasizes such topics as excess, transgression, liminality, disruption, and fragmentation, and in so doing engages dialectically with what were then culturally dominant notions of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The study treats Lambert’s works as belonging to three stylistic periods: his student years (1922–6), during which he experimented with various modernist approaches, Neoclassicism being the most prominent; his ‘jazz period’ (1927–31), which produced a series of concert works combining jazz elements with an angular, sometimes harsh, Neoclassical language; and his mature period (1932–51), in which he integrated aspects of his earlier stylistic experimentation into a coherent, personal modernist language. The study focuses upon the three major works of the mature period: the choral masque Summer’s Last Will and Testament (1932–5) and the ballets Horoscope (1936–7) and Tiresias (1950–1), all dramatic works that include direct reference to the notion of the Dionysian. The analytical chapters of the thesis investigate Lambert’s treatment of form, rhythm, and melody in these works, with emphasis on the movements that contain overt titular or textual Dionysian references (e.g. ‘Bacchanale’ or ‘Bacchus’). From this analysis, the study concludes that these stylistic characteristics combine to provide a musical embodiment of the Dionysian that entails critical engagement with the aforementioned notions of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
dc.language.isoen
dc.subjectMusic
dc.subject20th century
dc.subjectEngland
dc.subjectConstant Lambert
dc.subjectDionysian
dc.subjectmodernism in music
dc.subjectchoral music
dc.subjectballet music
dc.titleConstant Lambert: Dionysian Modernist
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorLoy, Stephen
local.contributor.supervisorcontactstephen.loy@anu.edu.au
dcterms.valid2017
local.description.notesthe author deposited 26/06/2017
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2017
local.contributor.affiliationSchool of Music, College of Arts & Social Sciences, The Australian National University
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d70ebfbafe81
local.mintdoimint
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