Programming choices and national culture: the repertoires and canons of French and British Symphony Orchestras (1967-2019)

Bols, Ingrid (2020) Programming choices and national culture: the repertoires and canons of French and British Symphony Orchestras (1967-2019). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis provides the first contemporary analysis of orchestral programming in Britain and in France, highlighting stable trends and transformations within concert canons over the past five decades. It presents the first sustained international comparison of contemporary orchestral canons and challenges the universalist approach of the Western musical canon. It examines the national differences between concert canons of French and British symphony orchestras from the mid-1960s onwards, based on four main case examples: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Paris Orchestra and Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra.
The main results show that canons do not only differ based on the old concept of national preference for local repertoire (developed by Vaughan Williams among others) but present more complex canonisation processes which impact foreign repertoire too. This thesis shows the significance of the original context of integration of a repertoire on its persistence in the canon, such as the early-twentieth-century critics using landscape metaphors for Nordic music (Sibelius, Nielsen), the Cold war for twentieth-century Russian music (Prokofiev, Shostakovich) and the tastes of intellectual circles for Second Viennese School music (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern). Furthermore, the research shows that, in addition to different proportions of certain repertoires in orchestral seasons, programming practices such as the pairing of different pieces for the same concert and its presentation to the audience significantly vary.
Finally, the role of orchestras within their society, based on cultural policies and deep societal trends has an impact on the repertoire considered as valuable. The case of the integration of film and video game music in concert halls illustrates the difference between French and British cultural systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: symphony orchestras, canons, repertoires, France, Britain.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Supervisor's Name: Moreda Rodriguez, Dr. Eva and Butt, Prof. John
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Dr Ingrid M Bols
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-82165
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 May 2021 16:08
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2021 06:20
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82165

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