The flourishing of religious or spiritually-inspired music in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries remains largely unexplored. The engagement and tensions between modernism and tradition, and institutionalized religion and spirituality are inherent issues for many composers who have sought to invoke spirituality and Otherness through contemporary music.
Contemporary Music and Spirituality provides a detailed exploration of the recent and current state of contemporary spiritual music in its religious, musical, cultural and conceptual-philosophical aspects. At the heart of the book are issues that consider the role of secularization, the claims of modernity concerning the status of art, and subjective responses such as faith and experience.
The contributors provide a new critical lens through which it is possible to see the music and thought of Cage, Ligeti, Messiaen, Stockhausen as spiritual music. The book surrounds these composers with studies of and by other composers directly associated with the idea of spiritual music (Harvey, Gubaidulina, MacMillan, Pärt, Pott, and Tavener), and others (Adams, Birtwistle, Ton de Leeuw, Ferneyhough, Ustvolskaya, and Vivier) who have created original engagements with the idea of spirituality.
Contemporary Music and Spirituality is essential reading for humanities scholars and students working in the areas of musicology, music theory, theology, religious studies, philosophy of culture, and the history of twentieth-century culture.