Essays and Interviews (1999–2022)
‘…music can conduct autopsies on received historical narratives and current ideologies of power and exploitation; it can tell things as they were, as they are, and perhaps, as they could be.’ (Benjamin Dwyer)
In this book, the direction of readers’ attention is naturally drawn into music; but more often it is drawn outwards. This is the metaphoric idea of ‘autopsy’: music can not only conduct investigations into extra-musical thoughts of discipline, but also into political and socio-cultural arenas. Admiration for Adorno and Bernstein does not inhibit sharp criticisms of their philosophical and political aporias. Interviews with George Crumb and Kevin Volans unveil surprisingly intimate portraits of the composers and their unique aesthetics.
Essays on composers as diverse as Alban Berg, György Ligeti, Frank Corcoran and Barry Guy reveal Dwyer’s multi-lensed and eclectic musicological methods. Focus on Guy and Mats Gustafsson prepares the reader for an intense exploration of free improvisation as a means of ‘extending our reach into the polymorphous strata of consciousness.’ Analysis of Dwyer’s own works never falls into self-regarding autoethnography but serves to understand music as ‘the supreme mystery of the science of man, a mystery that all the various disciplines come up against and which holds the key to their progress.’ (Levi-Strauss)
240 S., pb., € 28.00, 978-3-95593-138-4