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Catalysing Latin American identities: Alejo Carpentier’s music criticism as a Cuban case study

Rae, Caroline ORCID: 2019. Catalysing Latin American identities: Alejo Carpentier’s music criticism as a Cuban case study. Dingle, Christopher, ed. The Cambridge History of Music Criticism, The Cambridge History of Music, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 484-501.

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Despite the rich diversity of cultures, language and musical tradition in the Latin American world, the vast lands of Central and South America have often been considered a monolithic cultural area when viewed from a European perspective. While some scholars have suggested that concepts of Latin American identity remain fluid, others have observed that the fascination for European culture generated anxiety about the perceived cultural and historical gap between the Old continent and the New, a tension which resulted in the pendular movement between servile imitation and militant rejection of European influences that has become a feature of the Latin American cultural consciousness since the early twentieth century. Exploring a range of European musical influences, this essay considers issues of identity through a Cuban lens by investigating the music criticism of Alejo Carpentier who was not only one of the most influential writers of twentieth-century Latin America and uniquely placed through birth, education and up-bringing to question the European-Latin American dichotomy, but also a vigorous champion of European modernism, this providing a paradoxical catalyst for his advocacy of a distinctive Latin American identity.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107037892
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 08:39

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