Prior to becoming Deputy Dean at FASS in July 2017, Alan was Head of the School of Arts at UNE, having been in the role since February 2014. He is also scholar of the long nineteenth century, specialising in music and visual culture, art and aesthetics, celebrity studies, and music performance practice. His doctoral thesis was on the great Hungarian pianist-composer Franz Liszt, and he has since published widely on portraiture of musicians, visual culture and aesthetics.
Can supervise: YES
- The long nineteenth century.
- Music and visual culture.
- Art and aesthetics.
- Historical celebrity studies.
- Music performance practice.
- Music cognition
Davison, A 2016, 'Collecting musical prints in late eighteenth-century England: Taste, self-improvement and John Bland's 'portrait series'', Music in Art: international journal for music iconography, vol. 41, no. 1-2, pp. 203-213.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Hungarian artist Mihály Munkácsy's oil painting The last moments of Mozart (1885) is just one of several 'death-bed' visual reconstructions of the composer from the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Mozart's early death, and its connection to the unfinished Requiem, fascinated Romantic writers, biographers, music historians and several painters as well. Within this theme in Mozart's posthumous reception, Munkácsy's painting is one of the most dramatic images of the composer, and it stands as a testament to deeply rooted beliefs regarding Mozart's genius and creative destiny. The last moments of Mozart is representative of the romantic 'Dionysian' construction of Mozart that rose up against the prevailing classicizing or 'Apollonian' vision of the composer. While Munkácsy's large-scale canvas belongs to the sub-genre of Mozart deathbed iconography, it steers well away from the usual sentimentalized visual accounts that show the composer in the grip of emotional despair. Instead, the artist shows Mozart in the throes of a deeply internalized creative vision, synthesizing his life and work - death and the Requiem - in a visual transfiguration that elevates Mozart's last moments to something beyond the earthly. The last moments of Mozart, and other similarly 'kitsch' and neglected paintings of Mozart, may help us reflect upon the role of images in our own inherited conceptions of the composer. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Haydn's first visit to England in 1791 was accompanied by a publicity war waged between his supporters and detractors. The composer's friends were keen to present him as a musical genius while at the same time defending him against what they saw as reactionary criticisms over rules and taste. One such defence was in the form of a portrait by Thomas Hardy, probably the most famous image of the composer. While readily considered today as a matter-of-fact representation of an urbane Georgian gentleman, the portrait is in fact a sophisticated response to contemporary arguments surrounding Haydn, and presents him as an inventive genius of taste and judgment. By the manipulation of portrait conventions, Hardy created a visual representation of the composer analogous to written accounts by supporters such as Charles Burney. Haydn is shown as a man confident in his contribution to musical posterity, and the image reinforces advice from the time that repeated listening to and study of his music was required properly to appreciate it. The portrait has lost its original force as conceptions of genius changed from the early nineteenth century, reflecting a shift in the aesthetics of both music and visual art. © 2009 Cambridge University Press.
Davison, A 2009, 'The iconography of an émigré musician: Henri-Pierre Danloux's 1795 portrait of Jan Ladislav Dussek', Early Music, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 175-186.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Davison, A 2006, 'Franz Liszt and the development of 19th-century pianism: A re-reading of the evidence', Musical Times, vol. 147, no. 1896, pp. 33-43.
The wide variety of nineteenth-century images of the great pianist—composer Franz Liszt (1811–1886) provides both art historians and musicologists with a rich resource through its sheer diversity and comprehensiveness. Of great potential value are the insights that Lisztian iconography may provide into the changing nature of Romanticism and music during much of the nineteenth century. © 2005, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.
Davison, A 2017, 'John Brown's Dissertation (1763) on Poetry and Music: An Eighteenth-Century View on Music's Role in the Rise and Fall of Civilization' in Eisen, C & Davison, A (eds), Late Eighteenth-Century Music and Visual Culture, Brepols Publishers, Turnhout, Belgium, pp. 55-70.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
In this volume, nine prominent scholars employ a set of interdisciplinary methodological tools in order to come to a comprehensive understanding of the rich tapestry of eighteenth-century musical taste, performance, consumption and ...
In collaboration with Michael Saffle, James Deaville of Carleton University has assembled a collection of essays devoted to these subjects as well as operatic aspects of the symphonic works, Liszt and theories of "degenerate genius," and ...
Davison, A 2013, 'Representing music making' in Shephard, T & Leonard, A (eds), The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture, Routledge, London, pp. 87-94.
Davison, A 2012, 'Liszt and Caricatures: The Clarity of Distortion' in Liszt A Chorus of Voices : Essays, Interviews, and Reminiscences, Pendragon Press, Hillsdale, NY, pp. 68-75.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
In celebration, Pendragon announces Liszt: A Chorus of Voices. Although it contains the results of scholarly research and the opinions of more than a few academics, this volume is not a musicological monograph.
Musicological Society of Australia (current President)
International Musicology Society (member, and member of mentoring scheme)
Understanding British Portraits (listed specialist)