Gerhard's Cultural Milieu: An Explorer and a Survivor

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


This chapter examines Gerhard's position as an exile in England in the post-war period. It presents the first analysis of DNA in Reflection (1963) as a case study for demonstrating the ways in which Gerhard survived as a freelance composer. The chapter begins by setting out the political context in the 1930s in England when Gerhard moved from Catalonia to England as an exile of the Franco Regime. Hansard, the parliamentary record is used to demonstrate the fragility of the situation Gerhard found himself. The chapter highlights the important cultural roles many exiles took up and their importance to the development of new music in post-war Britain. Gerhard's position amongst notable exiles is discussed, particularly in terms of his remaining an 'outsider' and his unwillingness to take up an academic position to support himself. The chapter takes DNA in Reflection as an example of the composer's 'applied music' presenting a hypothesis for why Gerhard took on this unpaid commission and his possible motivations for completing the work. In addition to revealing Gerhard's business acumen as a composer, this first analysis of the work also demonstrates his skill as a pioneer of electronic music in terms of both technique and aesthetic thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoberto Gerhard
Subtitle of host publicationRe-Appraising a Musical Visionary in Exile
EditorsMonty Adkins, Rachel E. Mann
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9780197267134
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN (Print)0068-1202


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