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1920-1945

[1920-30, 1930-45]

A.  CONTEXT AND CHRONOLOGY  

B.  BASIC MUSICAL OVERVIEW:  Isms and Macroview

C.  RAW POOL OF DATA

WWI obviously affected musical organizations and centers, with the large performing forces previously required becoming impractical. Stravinsky, among others, faced this problem by writing chamber works for limited resources.  The "new simplicity" was marked by a more practical approach, where tonality (non-functional), jazz influences, as well as an interest in Classical and earlier music (influenced by musicological research) fused with an objective approach into an international style
known as Neoclassicism.

While this trend continued as late as the early1950's, Schoenberg and his disciples finally worked out the 12-note method of composition, creating "democracy" among the available tones, while regulating their use in a strict "totalitarian" way.  While Schoenberg condemned the Neoclassicists, he also was influenced by ongoing musicological research which manifested itself in his use of outdated forms which was of course interpreted to fit his needs. 

Other composers, while aware of the main European trends, were more concerned with establishing, as in
England, Spain and Hungary, a national music. The Soviet viewpoint rejected both Neoclassicism and Serialism as decadent Western manifestations of "formalism," requiring composers to focus on ideological themes using native materials and resources. 

In America, where a indigenous cultivated tradition was finally in full bloom, media dissemination created "taste publics" which permanently widened the gap between popular and classical music.  By the 1930's, composers and performers were necessarily forced to conform to the "new simplicities," resulting in a more accessible type of music.  The influx of European immigration due to the rise of Nazism was an extreme boost to all aspects of American music.


D.  INTERPRETIVE IDEAS

1.  America:  new concepts (Cowell); national music an obsession

2.  Europe:  New Simplicities (salons, use of the past/tradition, individualism

3.  Impact of U.S.

4.  Neoclassicism vs. Serialism

5.  Landmark Years:  1925, 1935

E.  REPERTORY TO TEST AND PROVE

Bartok
Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (1936)
Berg
Lulu (1929-34)
Lyric Suite (1926)
Violin Concerto (1935)

Cage
Bacchanale (1938)
Sonatas & Interludes (1946-48)

Hindemith
Ludus Tonalis (1943)
Honegger
Pacific 231 (1923)
Morton
Grandpa's Spells (1926?)
Stravinsky
Les Noces (1914-23)
Pulcinella (1920)

Varese
Octandre (1923)
Ionisation (1929-31)
Density 21.5 (1936)

Webern
Symphony op. 21 (1928)
Quartet op. 22 (1930)
Cantata op. 31 (1941-44)


F.  RETURN TO CONTEXT AND CHRONOLOGYTHE PRIMARY DOCUMENTS

Sessions
• put down serial music
• defended Neoclassicism
• it wasn't a "Return to the Past," but a "point of departure"
• states need for a large body of Gebrauchmusik

Stravinsky
• Neoclassism as objectivism; 
• emotion not embodied in music, but produced by it: expression is an additional attribute
• people fail to understand music as an entity unto itself
• remarks upon conductor's lack of responsibility: failure to research how music
should be performed, when information is available and easily accessible
• disturbed by Wagner ritual: concept of art as religion, theatre as temple
• disagrees with Ultra-Romantic/Wagner point of view

Schoenberg/Stravinsky spat:
• so extreme that they are similar-so what!
• After WWII, the dualism was pointless!

Collet
• coins "Les Six":  remarks on their "return to simplicity"
Milhaud
• says Collet arbitrarily chose their names because they were good friends;
• disapproved of declarations of aesthetic doctrines, felt them to "be a drag," limiting the artist, "but it was useless to protest."  
• Associations with Les Six source of several "music hall" pieces; 
• "background music" experiment of Satie's failed, because
his music was too good! 
• However, points out that now there is Muzak everywhere, which no one pays attention to

Thomson
• Satie's aesthetic ("stop trying to be impressive") only one which is authentically 20th Century
Berg on Wozzeck
• didn't intend on opera reform
• Wozzeck not intended as a  model, but simply was the result of organizational problems he had dealing with the material
• the idea of the whole transcends the parts!!

Cowell
• jazz as a folk music resource
Ravel
•agrees with Cowell
• jazz should contribaute to national musical heritage

Weill
• expresses need for music to serve the interests of all
Hindemith
• refutes the term Gebrauchmusik
Copland
• realized relationship of music and culture while in France, wanted the same relationship in American music; 
• wanted contact with a large audience without sacrificing his musical standards

RAPM:  Manifesto
• MUSIC MUST SERVE THE PROLETARIAT AS BUILDERS OF COMMUNIST SOCIETY
Prokofiev
• problems with his stylistic individuality
• experienced lots of trouble because of it, despite his attempts to conform