Claustrophilia: A musical gift from Roberto Gerhard to John Cage

Carlos Duque, Mathew Adkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


For much of the mid-twentieth century, Roberto Gerhard found himself an outsider. He was airbrushed from much writing on contemporary music in Spain during the Franco regime, and was known in England more for his ‘commercial’ music for theatre, film and radio than his concert works. However, his significance as a musical innovator in developing serial technique and in the field of electro-acoustics is now being gradually recognised in both Spain and England, as well as further afield.

The volume explores an extensive range of Gerhard’s work from the early Wind Quintet and the Spanish ballets Pandora and Don Quixote with their overt political overtones, through to the late period Metamorphoses and a newly discovered chance-based composition Claustophilia written in response to a request by John Cage for his book Notations.

One of the key themes presented throughout the book is Gerhard’s innovative use of serialism. Gerhard’s development of Schoenberg’s technique led him to explore the serialization of both pitch and time. This volume suggests evidence for the first time that situates Gerhard’s idiosyncratic experiments alongside rather than after the total serialist works of his European counterparts Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEssays on Roberto Gerhard
EditorsMonty Adkins, Michael Russ
Place of PublicationCambidge
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)97814443874816
ISBN (Print)9781443811088
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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