to the 20th century and First Two Decades)
Isms and Macroview
Summary from study of composers'
outputs appropriate to this period
While a definitive tonal center was absent in this works, there were still a sense of pitchcentricity which provided a frame of reference. French composers, while not as strongly aligned to the Germanic tradition, made investigations into sonority and form, abandoning functional tonality. Unfortunately, the Impressionistic movement, which grew out of the Romantic tradition, was a "dead end." The significance of the movement lies in the fact that it proved alternatives to tradition were indeed possible. Other possibilities explored by the French were the use of imported resources adapted to fit the current musical language; this trend is known as Exoticism.
Russian composers, on the other hand, investigated native resources, manifesting in the Primitivist movement; explorations of rhythm were a primary concern, as were native themes.
In America, composers such as Ives concerned themselves with establishing a national musical tradition based upon the vernacular and cultivated materials of America. At the same time, "Germanophilia" was still quite strong in cultural centers such as Boston, affecting a resistance to change, while in New Orleans the acculturation of several culture's tradition was homogenized in the syncopated Dixieland style.
Quartet #2, op. 10
Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp
|| suffered a great deal of idealistic anguish dealing with Wagner's system of expression|
|| was merely
trying to make a living (a good one at that)
rejected exoticism in favor of leitmotifs, which led him to bitonality
viewpoint: distrustful of theory, suspicious of developmental processes
sound for the sake of sound
warns against labels
shortcomings with tonal system, equal temperment
proposes to keep exploring
with Busoni; proposes "back to nature" approach of investigation
and misunderstood by most, although some did appreciated his significance
was quite radical and threatening
mere application of a method does not create artistry
talks about "rites of passage": evolution of the series
Societies where new music could be performed for those who could appreciate it, while
avoiding and disregarding "taste publics"
of tonality was inevitable;
use of all 12 notes creates division in time;
necessity for miniatures connected with abandonment of tonality.
Composers didn't know what to do yet, because "the light had been put out."
|| idea of
"Nature renewing herself" in Le Sacre
Stravinsky viewed as a "Music wrecker"
pros and cons of the premiere's reception
Igor understood being misunderstood, but didn't appreciate public's lack of good will.
Manifesto promoted idea of a "Futurist" orchestra
idea of new resources of sound
|| back to
peasant music as a resource
Politics and Music don't mix (In post WWI Hungary)