Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
-Born in Munich to a musical family, father a celebrated horn player, conservative musical upbringing.
-Conducted Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic.
-Stayed in Germany during Nazi regime, naively thought it just another regime change.
-Wrote in 3 genres: Art song, Symphonic poem (tone poem), Opera (focus at turn of century)
-Salome (1905) (Oscar Wilde play)
Traditional elements: Wagnerian musical language, continuous, leitmotivic (theme for threat to kiss Iochanaan’s head, theme for descriptive hyperbole of his beauty, theme for Evil [which wins in the end in unrelated shocking key after huge preparation for tonic-dominant resolution]), polyphonic web, orchestral drama
Innovative elements: Intensity of prolonged dissonance, controversial plot and music
-Elektra (1908) also controversial

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
-Born in Vienna to nonmusical family, public school, dropped out to work in a bank when father died, violin at 8 and switched to cello to play chamber music, never pro performer or virtuoso
-Self-taught composer, analyzed music he played (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms), equal appreciation for Brahms and Wagner
-Studied with one composer, Zemlinsky, went to conservatory; friend of Schoenbergs, gained him Mahler’s and Strauss’s support tull 1910 when he and Strauss had a falling-out
-1895 could support himself with music
-1904 and on, taught composition lessons, wrote as he had early in life: Art song, Symphonic poem (Verklaerte Nacht (1899), Pelleas & Melisande (1903)),
large-scale orchestral/choral/soloists works (Gurrelieder (1899-1911)), chamber music (String Quartet d minor Op. 7 (1905) 4 movements compressed into one); orchestral conception difficult and intense, voice-leading precedes harmonic concept, complex and spontaneous, independence of melodic writing, “prose-style rhythm”- free phrases, “developing variation”- constant development, no repetition, few melodic ideas- integration
-1908 crisis point- atonality: emancipation of dissonance, equal chromatic distribution (not a conscious decision), harmonies motivated by voice-leading, avoidance of tonal vocabulary (self-conscious)
-3 piano pieces (1909)
Traditional: character piece, traditional piano, extreme motivic unity, melody/accompaniment texture, ternary form
Innovative: rhythmically amorphous, atonal, harmonics technique on piano, set of 0 1 4
-1909 also newly pantonal productive year: Hanging Gardens, 5 pieces for Orchestra, Erwartung
Productivity dropped 1910-15, finished almost nothing, 1912 Pierrot Lunaire

Expressionism- challenge of art to the beholder, shocking, rejected construction conventions of the past; idea behind the image, direct and immediate, truth in intuition
-Taught Webern and Berg, three were the Second Viennese School
-Interest in classical form, by WW2 interest is in objective and rational approach

Anton Webern (1883-1935)
-focus on silence, pointillistic orchestration, master of miniature or aphorism
-Klangfarbenmelodie with tone color and register
-Five Orchestra pieces 1913 tiny, soft, exposed, difficult, disparate
-Not strict or systematic with 12-tone

Alban Berg (1885-1935)
-retains Romantic associations throughout career, lyrical and chromatic atonality with some aspect of tonal style
-Wozzeck (1918-23) expressionist
-Lulu (1935) 12-tone, premiered in 70’s, expressionist storyline; extracted from two plays, Pandora’s Box and Earth Spirit
-Four Songs (1910) cusp of atonality; nature, then human, then universal; dramatic, word painting, one-voice melody, lusher louder texture than Webern

12-tone method (dodecaphony)- Schoenberg: “Method of composing with twelve tones which are related only with one another” twelve-tone motives to guarantee chromaticism; generates smaller motives, and everything else; order of intervals gives underlying pitch unity. 4 row forms, 12 transpositions each, 48 total forms

Neoclassicism- The Anti-German Romantic option already a movement to reconstruct classical art for balance and clarity, simple textures, limited array of formal ideas (sonata, rondo, theme/variations, fugue) used outside original context, “new wine in old bottles”

Stravinsky in Neoclassicism- moved away from primitivism in 1918-20, nationalism declined, moved back to Paris and absored neoclassical ideals: Pulcinella (1920), Octet for Wind Instruments (1923 rev 1952), Mass (1944-8)

Les Six – French circle of Neoclassicism (model initially was Satie, for clarity, humor, simplicity), an alternative to impressionism: Milhaud, Auric, Honegger, Taillferre, Poulenc, Durey

Milhaud (1892-1974) born in S. France to Jews, went to Paris Conservatory, did well, travelled to Brazil, stopped in NY on the way back and got interested in American jazz; during WWII taught at Mills college in SF, then alternated living in US and France each year, taught a lot of American students; called Wagner an idiot; composed in all genres prolifically, quoted popular music, bitonality and polytonality a big fixture in his music
-Saudades do Brazil (1920-1) polytonality notated outright
-La creation du monde (1923) African folk inspiration; blue notes, syncopation, orchestration all inspired by Harlem jazz; didn’t catch on immediately

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) proponent of German “New objectivity/Rationalism” as opposed to Neroclassicism; tremendous prodigy, enfant terrible of 1920s for dissonance and difficulty, then end of 1920’s drastically rethinks style over the gap between composers and audiences
-“Ragtime” from Suite 1922
-Later works exemplify classicizing elements; Mathis der Maler (1934) (premiered in Switzerland 1938)
-Left Germany in the 30’s for Turkey, Switzerland, 1940’s taught at Yale, 53 back to Switzerland, taught at U Zuerich till he died

Aaron Copland (1900-1990) still more Neoclassicism; born Brooklyn, grew up with New Music on the rise, studied with Goldmark then Boulanger, antiRomantic craft of compostion; found populand music and jazz to give his music an American quality
-Music for Theatre (1925)
-Piano Concerto (1937)
-then Depression helped forumlate his famous style, conservative, Neoclassical reach for larger audience, new nationalism in the face of economic deprivation, composers went populist
-Appalachian Spring (1944) commissioned by Martha Graham, originally scored for 13 instruments, rearranged for everything else; brass, percussion, clear melody-accompaniment, winds have melodic role

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
-Studied with Frank Bridge, RCM
-Most famous for choral music and operas: Ceremony of Carols, War Requiem, Peter Grimes
-Later, explores dense chromaticism, approaches 12-tone
-Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1943) set of 6 songs, instrumental prologue/epilogue; #4 fugal, opens with solo tenor

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
-Symphony No. 1 “classical” (1917)
Lived in Russia, left after 1918 revolution, went to Paris, US, back to Russia in 30’s during the forbidding, repressive Stalinist era; under Stalin, music had to “contribute to the public good”; Russian composers’ alliance; “socialist realism” described the kind of art the government wanted, dismissed what they didn’t like as “formalist music”
-simple, triadic, references to tonality
9 piano sonatas
-Piano sonata No. 7 (1939-42) op. 83
3rd movement (finale) dissonant; triadic, percussive, irregular meter, tonal qualities


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