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Mr Modernsky tells a story about two heavyweights of twentieth-century classical music: Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg.
It traces the gradual change there has been in the way these two great rivals are perceived, looks in their music for the reasons and reflects on the nature of modernity in art and the sometimes pernicious effects of ideology. Meredith Oakes explores the tension between futuristic and historical elements in the work of these parallel artists and asks: is modernity merely about technical innovation? Must progress always mean exclusion of the past?