Modernism and Reification in the Music of Frank Bridge

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Drawing on the tradition of Formenlehre, this article puts forward a methodological historicism as a means to mediate between the disciplinary expectations of musical analysis, on the one hand, and philosophical aesthetics, on the other. Stylistic developments in the later music of Frank Bridge, perhaps British music’s best claim to a high modernist of the generation of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, are illuminated by means of Theodor W. Adorno’s notion of musical ‘reification’. A comparative analysis of the complementary modernism of Bridge’s contemporary Ralph Vaughan Williams is also put forward, and a critical light shone on recent writing on British musical modernism in general.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-402
JournalJournal of the Royal Musical Association
Issue number2
Early online date10 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016