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Out of Prison: Towards a Poetic Freedom



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Planells Schiaffino, Josep 


The starting point of the present work is a statement made by György Ligeti in 1993. In it, the Hungarian composer expressed his concern to escape both the dangers of traditionalist conventionalism and avant-garde mannerisms. Almost 30 years later, to these Scylla and Charybdis I believe we should add a third danger: that of Postmodernity.

My artistic response is based on the conviction that these three artistic paradigms are obsolete today. That is why in the present work I expound, from a critical attitude towards these aesthetic approaches, my own, ‘oblique’ position. In an attempt to avoid any kind of epigonism, my path consists of abstract reflections on functional categories. Hence, my research focuses less on material than on its grammar and formal articulation.

Accordingly, I concentrate on a thorough analysis of harmonic and rhythmic relations in my music, and on their implications within different formal contexts. By commenting from different points of view, I intend to illuminate where my poetic search is heading: while in Con sprezzatura and Album I emphasise different strategies for variation, in my opera Aufbruch I stress musical-theatrical relationships, taking in a study of rhythmic prose. From the large orchestral piece Torna I comment only on one section to illustrate the idea of a ‘deferred climax’ that does not come to fruition.

My conclusion is that, for the sake of poetic freedom – and without losing sight of the fact that the ultimate aim of artistic creation is to move the listener – my path is moving progressively towards greater integration, reduction and concentration of expression.





Causton, Richard


harmony, integration, modernism, podetic freedom, postmodernism, reduction, syntax, traditionalism


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge