Music in the Early Twentieth Century: The Oxford History of Western Music

Oxford University Press
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The universally acclaimed and award-winning Oxford History of Western Music is the eminent musicologist Richard Taruskin's provocative, erudite telling of the story of Western music from its earliest days to the present. Each book in this superlative five-volume set illuminates-through a representative sampling of masterworks-the themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to a significant period in the history of Western music. Music in the Early Twentieth Century , the fourth volume in Richard Taruskin's history, looks at the first half of the twentieth century, from the beginnings of Modernism in the last decade of the nineteenth century right up to the end of World War II. Taruskin discusses modernism in Germany and France as reflected in the work of Mahler, Strauss, Satie, and Debussy, the modern ballets of Stravinsky, the use of twelve-tone technique in the years following World War I, the music of Charles Ives, the influence of peasant songs on Bela Bartok, Stravinsky's neo-classical phase and the real beginnings of 20th-century music, the vision of America as seen in the works of such composers as W.C. Handy, George Gershwin, and Virgil Thomson, and the impact of totalitarianism on the works of a range of musicians from Toscanini to Shostakovich
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This new collection views Russian music through the Greek triad of “the Good, the True, and the Beautiful” to investigate how the idea of "nation" embeds itself in the public discourse about music and other arts with results at times invigorating, at times corrupting. In our divided, post–Cold War, and now post–9/11 world, Russian music, formerly a quiet corner on the margins of musicology, has become a site of noisy contention. Richard Taruskin assesses the political and cultural stakes that attach to it in the era of Pussy Riot and renewed international tensions, before turning to individual cases from the nineteenth century to the present. Much of the volume is devoted to the resolutely cosmopolitan but inveterately Russian Igor Stravinsky, one of the major forces in the music of the twentieth century and subject of particular interest to composers and music theorists all over the world. Taruskin here revisits him for the first time since the 1990s, when everything changed for Russia and its cultural products. Other essays are devoted to the cultural and social policies of the Soviet Union and their effect on the music produced there as those policies swung away from Communist internationalism to traditional Russian nationalism; to the musicians of the Russian postrevolutionary diaspora; and to the tension between the compelling artistic quality of works such as Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps or Prokofieff’s Zdravitsa and the antihumanistic or totalitarian messages they convey. Russian Music at Home and Abroad addresses these concerns in a personal and critical way, characteristically demonstrating Taruskin’s authority and ability to bring living history out of the shadows.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Aug 14, 2006
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Pages
880
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ISBN
9780199796014
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / History & Criticism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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One Hundred Years of Music provides a full account of the history of music from the death of Beethoven to the modern era. It covers a period of exceptional interest. The last hundred years coincide roughly with the rise and decline of Romanticism, include the various nationalist movements, and extend to the advent of "neo-classicism," the twelve-tone system, and still more modern techniques. Abraham devotes ample space to modernist and avant garde music, in which he explains the difficulties we experience in listening to the work of such composers as Schnberg, Bart k, and Berg. He also throws new light on many more familiar topics.In its earlier editions, One Hundred Years of Music became a standard work on this subject; it has since been brought updated to include coverage of later developments. Abraham approaches his subject as an historian of style rather than an esthetic critic. Rather than pass judgment on particular works or composers, he shows how music has developed, and thus provides a clear and connected history that is more substantial than most books of musical appreciation. An extensive chronology and a full bibliography and index add to the usefulness of the book for students, professionals and musical laymen alike.This third edition incorporates some corrections of fact, further enlarges the bibliography and chronology, and adds commentary on developments in music techniques. In order to correct the historical perspective, the author has included a "prelude" and three "interludes," giving rough sketches of general conditions in the musical world at intervals of thirty years. As the reader's sense of chronology is very apt to get confused when a number of simultaneous streams of development have to be described, the author has inserted the date of composition or performance (both if they are widely separated) of each work at the first mention of it.
The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, the influence of modern music can be felt everywhere. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalist music has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward. Alex Ross, the brilliant music critic for The New Yorker, shines a bright light on this secret world, and shows how it has pervaded every corner of twentieth century life.

The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.

Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.

Style — the distinctive manner of presentation, construction, and execution in any art — is a topic of primary importance in music history. This highly regarded text by noted musicologist Richard Crocker (University of California, Berkeley) takes a much-needed fresh look at the subject and attempts to reshape some basic ideas in the light of modern research. Seeking the reasons for stylistic change within the history of style itself (rather than in the history of men or of ideas), this enlightening account shows how music, growing out of its own past, has shaped its own development.
Professor Crocker's exceptionally clear and systematic presentation enables students to easily follow the evolution of Western musical style from Gregorian Chant (ca. 750) to the atonal music of the mid-20th century. The book stresses the continuity of basic musical principles over long periods of history, while it explores in detail moments of high stylistic achievement and the composers who exemplified them.
Drawing of the earliest written records, Crocker begins his description and analysis of Western music's changing style with a discussion of Frankish Gregorian Chant, laudes and melismas, and polyphony — the leading medium of musical development after 1150. The author traces the progression of new polyphonic forms from the Parisian motet of the 13th and 14th centuries through Italian song forms to the Franco-Flemish style of the 15th and 16th centuries. This sweeping survey then documents the emergence of the Classic Style after 1550, embodied in the music of such composers as Palestrina and Byrd, moves through new Italian dramatic styles (1600–1650) and on to the harmonic and polyphonic contributions of the 17th- and 18th-century masters.
With perception and insight, Crocker traces the creation of the German symphonic style, epitomized in the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, and deals with the parallel development of operatic style. An illuminating examination of new styles after 1900, including the serial music of Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, concludes this exhaustive study.
Over 140 music examples complement Crocker's lucid text, and lists of Selected Study Materials for each chapter are given at the back of the book. This work will be welcomed by music students at all levels, music scholars, and the interested layman as well.
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