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Title: Satie and the French musical canon :a reception study
Authors: Hanlon, Ann-Marie
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Satie was the first French composer to completely reject the musical tradition of Romanticism in all its forms: technically, aesthetically and ideologically. The methods through which Satie attacked tradition were highly unorthodox and often presented in an aphoristic and humorous fashion, an approach that caused his pivotal role in the emergence of the early French avant-garde to be neglected. The primary research question that informs this thesis asks what were the mechanisms by which Satie was consistently excluded from the canon during his public career (1911-1925)? Within a primary framework of canon theory, this reception study challenges the dominance of the canon on discourses surrounding Satie during his lifetime and lays the foundations for a reassessment of his role as an avatar of French modernism. This study addresses the canon in explicit terms and challenges canonic influence over methodology, terminology and ideology in musical discourse. In doing so many traditional beliefs and images concerning Satie are re-examined, for example: that analyses of his music are a futile pursuit as the musical ideas were considered more important than the music itself. The historicity of various images of Satie that collectively formed his public identity in the press are examined and, where necessary, re-evaluated. Through an analysis of a wide range of primary sources, including concert programmes and critical reviews, this research addresses the themes that predominate in Satie’s reception and impacted significantly on his reputation: professionalism, humour, gender, nationalism, class politics and religion. Particular attention is given to the role of humour and various methods are suggested for directly dealing with the comic in Satie’s music. The canonic implications of programming practices and Satie’s involvement in inter-art events are also explored. Through a direct confrontation of the canon, an alternative historiographic model for this period of French musical history is proposed.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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