From Handel to Hendrix, The Composer in the Public Sphere Verso, 1999
A study of the composer as a public figure in the light of Habermas’s study of the transformation of the public sphere, taking its cue from the German philosopher’s remarks about the bourgeois concert audience, the emergence of criticism and the development of autonomous music. Follows the fate of the composer through successive incarnations, from Handel, Bach and Rousseau in the eighteenth century to contrasting examples such as Kurt Weill and Duke Ellington, or John Cage and Pierre Boulez, in the twentieth. Calling on recent work in feminist and gay musicology, the book investigates themes such as subjectivity and identity in Schubert and Chopin alongside questions of the political economy of music and the composer’s progressive marginalization from the centre of musical life.
Read a review by Sean Cubitt or this one in the LA Weekly