1900 - 1920

(Transition to the 20th century and First Two Decades)

A. CONTEXT AND CHRONOLOGY

(including art trends)

  1. Began in spirit of optimism; knocked down by the war; regroup
  2. Establishment of patterns and trends: transportation, technology, science, culture determining trivia
  3. America to the foreront
  4. Correlation of the Arts
  5. Media dissemination & commercial ramifications
  6. Art trends: earlier trends from 19th Century:

B. BASIC MUSICAL OVERVIEW

Isms and Macroview

  1. Ultra-chromaticism (Wagner) turns into expressionism-Viennese School (Late Romanticism)
  2. Impressionism
  3. Nationalism
  4. Exoticism
  5. Primitivism
  6. Realism: Verismo Opera

C. RAW POOL OF DATA

Summary from study of composers' outputs appropriate to this period

Composers of this period were faced with numerous problems, with the main on being the issue of how to deal with the tonal system, which had previously been blown to bits by Wagner. Schoenberg and his Viennese School dealt with this by adapting the leitmotif idea to short works (pieces) which achieved unity through maintaining intervallic relationships.

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.


D. INTERPRETIVE IDEAS

1. World-view Crisis: Weltschmerz

2. Exhausted & embryonic musical traditions: groundclearing

3. Schoenberg/Berg/Webern: Retreat to the Ivory Tower

4. French Musical Renaissance (pre-Satie): Franck

5. Russian Nationalism (Glinka to Rimsky-Korsakov)

6. America: end of Germanophilia (finally)

7. Landmark-year approach: related to repertory:

1902: New/old aesthetics Fermentation & Crisis

1905-06: Crisis Escalates (What to do with Wagner/Tradition?)

1908: CRISIS !!!!!!!!

1912: First Solutions

1915-20: New Directions Emerge

E. REPERTORY TO TEST AND PROVE

1902


1905-06



1908









1912










1915-20

Debussy: Pelleas et Melisande
Jelly-Roll Morton (Ferdinand de Menthe) "invents" jazz

Strauss: Salome
Schoenberg: String Quartet, op. 7
Ives: The Unanswered Question

Schoenberg: String Quartet #2, op. 10
Berg: Sonata for Piano, op. 1
Webern: Passacaglia for Orchestra, op. 1
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
Joplin: Manual of Ragtime Exercises, Treemonisha
Bartok: Two Portraits, Bagatelles, String Quartet #1, Allegro
Barbaro, Bluebeard's Castle

Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier

Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire
Berg: Altenberg Lieder
Stravinsky: Rite of Spring
Debussy: Jeux
Ravel: Trois Poemes de Stephene Mallarme
Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe
Debussy: Images
Berg: Five Pieces for Orchestra
Ives: Three Places in New England

Debussy: Syrinx, Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp
Stravinsky: Soldier's Tale
Prokofiev: Classical Symphony
Berg: Wozzeck
Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin
Satie: Parade
Webern: Five Pieces op. 10



F. RETURN TO CONTEXT AND CHRONOLOGY

Mahler
suffered a great deal of idealistic anguish dealing with Wagner's system of expression
Strauss
was merely trying to make a living (a good one at that)
rejected
exoticism in favor of leitmotifs, which led him to bitonality
Debussy
embryonic/exhaustive viewpoint: distrustful of theory, suspicious of developmental processes
sound for the sake of sound
warns
against labels
Busoni
finds shortcomings with tonal system, equal temperment
propos
es to keep exploring
Ives
agrees with Busoni; proposes "back to nature" approach of investigation
Schoenberg
unappreciated 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
Schoenberg/Berg
proposed Societies where new music could be performed for those who could appreciate it, while avoiding and disregarding "taste publics"
Webern
breakup of tonality was inevitable;
use of all 12 notes creates
division in time;
necessity for miniatures connected with abandon
ment of tonality.
Composers didn't know what to do yet, because
"the light had been put out."
Stravinsky
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 appreci
ate public's lack of good will.
Russolo
Futurist Manifesto promoted idea of a "Futurist" orchestra
idea
of new resources of sound
Bartok
back to nature solution
peasant music as a resource
Politics and
Music don't mix (In post WWI Hungary)