Spectral temporality in the music of George Benjamin

Scheuregger, Martin (2018) Spectral temporality in the music of George Benjamin. In: Royal Musical Association Annual Conference 2018, 13–15 September 2018, Department of Music, University of Bristol.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Between 1980 and 1995 the music of British composer George Benjamin progresses from exhibiting spectral features in the sonorities and techniques of his works, to subsuming spectral thinking into the fabric of his approach. Coming from either end of this span, A Mind of Winter (1981) and Sudden Time (1993) each manifest spectral thinking in different ways, reflecting a variety of developments in the composer's approach across this period. In considering spectral thinking in these two works, the intention is twofold. Firstly, techniques deriving from spectral and proto-spectral composers are observed: these are seen primarily in sonic material, the use of transformative processes and an interest in liminality. Secondly, spectral thinking informs the conceptual basis for their analysis: ideas originating in spectralism contribute to the understanding of primarily temporal concerns. There is significant overlap in these areas and it can be difficult to distinguish what makes a works spectralist and what makes it simply related to spectralism. This paper does not suggest Benjamin is consciously applying a spectral understanding of time, timbre or any other issue, rather by cross-referencing spectral thinking with the two case studies, a stylistically and aesthetically informed understanding of the composer's music is presented.

Keywords:Music, Spectralism, George Benjamin, Contemporary Music, Stasis, Temporality
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:35174
Deposited On:04 Mar 2019 07:32

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