The music, like its composer, plays a game of hide and seek. But it does so in broad daylight. Robin Holloway's music is not always quoting others – although it quotes more, and more covertly, than many of his own published statements might lead one to believe – but quotation has become such a compulsive game for Holloway that it is often hard to say where ‘he’ stops or where ‘others’ begin. Whereas the composer's own public confessions have tended to focus on the extent to which his music adopts the voices and personas of others, it seems to the current writer that Holloway's own voice – its harmonic and textural mannerisms, preferences in structure and in subject matter, ways of relating notes to ideas and images – remains characteristic and recognizable throughout. It is the implications of this fact that I wish to explore in this brief survey.
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