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New Ears for New Music

Translated by Kenneth Chalmers

Constantin Floros

20th-century music is characterized by a bewildering multitude of trends and movements. Often several movements co-exist in contradiction to each other, in a reflection of the century’s intellectual currents and social and political changes, and the reactions they prompted. In this book, renowned musicologist and author Constantin Floros provides a survey of the different styles and tendencies in new music, presenting the most important composers from Schoenberg to Rihm in a series of fluent and readable essays that will appeal to connoisseurs and non-specialists alike. For Floros, music and biography are inseparable, and here he puts music in the context of the social and psychological background of its time.

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Table of Contents

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Preface....................................................................................................................1 From Expressionism to Experiment – Directions and Tendencies in New Music .............................................................3 Arnold Schoenberg – Revolutionary, Humanist and Visionary ..........................11 “Music is not to be Decorative; it is to be True” – Towards an Aesthetic of the Second Viennese School .......................................17 The Problem of “German Music” ........................................................................23 The Fate of Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg after 1933...............................29 Two Unknown Letters by Schoenberg and Berg.................................................37 Beethoven and the Schoenberg School................................................................41 Principles of Vocal Composition .........................................................................47 Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder....................................................................................51 The Melodramas of Pierrot lunaire.....................................................................59 “God’s Eternity Opposes the Transience of Idols” – On Schoenberg’s Moses and Aron.......................................................................65 Nationalism and Folklorism.................................................................................71 Nikos Skalkottas – A Schoenberg Pupil in Berlin...............................................79 Beyond Schoenberg and Debussy – Nikos Skalkottas’s 32 Piano Pieces .....................................................................85 A Conversation with Luigi Nono.........................................................................97 Olivier Messiaen’s “Theological Music” ..........................................................101 Pierre Boulez’s Masterpiece Le Marteau sans maître.......................................105 VI Fascinated by the Music of Ligeti......................................................................109 Ligeti’s Hölderlin-Phantasien. A Letter from the Composer ...........................113 Iridescent Sound.................................................................................................117 “Folklore in Serious Music is a Lie” – Ligeti’s Relationship with Béla Bartók .............................................................125 Multicultural Phenomena in the New Music .....................................................133 “A Music of the Whole Earth, All Countries and Races”: Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Utopia of World Music .............................................137 The Philosophy of Time and Pluralistic Thought of Bernd Alois Zimmermann .................................................................................143 Alfred Schnittke and Polystylism ......................................................................147 And Always for a Better World – Approaches to Hans Werner Henze...................................................................153 So-called Postmodernism...................................................................................161 “No Artist Works at a Distance from Humanity” – In Praise of Wolfgang Rihm ..............................................................................167 Afterword ...........................................................................................................171 Notes ..................................................................................................................173 Selective Bibliography.......................................................................................205 List of Music Examples and Illustrations ..........................................................213 Plates ..................................................................................................................215 Index...................................................................................................................229

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