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The Music RoadCoherence and Diversity in Music from the Mediterranean to India$
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Reinhard Strohm

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266564

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266564.001.0001

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Orientalism in the Art Music of the Ionian Islands

Orientalism in the Art Music of the Ionian Islands

(p.296) 15 Orientalism in the Art Music of the Ionian Islands
The Music Road

Kostas Kardamis

British Academy

The Ionian Islands were at an early stage cut off from the Eastern Roman Empire, experienced the changes that came with the Renaissance, actively participated in the Enlightenment and were in contact with the multifarious ideologies of the 19th century. These factors transformed their art music, which followed the ‘western’ trends. In this context, ‘orientalism’ appeared as an additional creative element in certain indigenous composers’ works. Its use ranged from the stereotypical ‘western’ approach regarding the Orient to the employment of ‘oriental’ elements as media of political (especially during the struggles for the Islands’ annexation to the Greek Kingdom), national (as a conventional ‘Greek characteristic’) and social statements, and as a way for the works’ entrepreneurial promotion to a larger audience. The chapter discusses these changing—and often concurrent and diverging—attitudes through case studies; it stresses that ‘orientalism’ never became a compositional fixation for Ionian Islands composers.

Keywords:   Ionian Islands, opera, musical orientalism, cultural politics, 19th-century Greece, ideology

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