Chapter 29 Germanic Expression and the Development of Serialism

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Transcript Chapter 29 Germanic Expression and the Development of Serialism

Expressionism in art represents
tormented feelings with harsh
colors and distorted images
Artists did not attempt to
produce beautiful or realistic art
Several 20th composers shared
goals of expressionist artists
Efforts to create new tonality led
to idea of avoiding tonality
Tonality was so fundamental to
musical organization it could
not be dropped
Arnold Schoenberg developed
serialism – a system to replace
traditional harmony and
Portrait of Eduard Kosmack by
Egon Schiele
Born in Vienna, Austria
Studied violin and cello
Worked several years as a bank employee
Influenced by Brahms and Wagner; acquainted with Strauss and
1890s: composed string quartets, piano works, and songs
Took as students Alban Berg and Anton Weber
Rejected tonality with atonal style
New system of organization called tone row – arranged 12
chromatic tones in a chosen order (non-scalelike)
Notes could be used in sequence or simultaneously in groups
System is called twelve-tone or dodecaphony; repeated use of row is
known as serialism
Song cycle Pierrot Lunaire (Moonstruck Pierre, 1912) drew invective from
critics but praise from avant-garde sympathizers
Pierrot Lunaire composed for soprano voice and five instrumentalists
Employed Sprechstimme - half-sung, half-spoken vocal technique
Based on a set of 21 published poems
Work is atonal but not twelve tone
Taught Alban Berg and Anton Webern
Taught at State Academy of the Arts in Berlin; dismissed from post when
Nazi Party assumed power
Immigrated first to France then to United States
Worked in Boston and New York; joined faculty of University of
California at Los Angeles
Died in Los Angeles at age 76
Composed by Arnold Schoenberg in 1912
Chamber music
Sehr rasche (very fast)
Through-composed form
Soprano voice, piano, piccolo, clarinet, violin, cello
Example from
CD 2,
track 18,
pp. 273-274
Listen to the
Triple Meter
A white fleck of bright moonlight on the back of his black jacket,
Pierrot strolls in the mild evening air, To search for good fun and
Suddenly, something about his clothing seems wrong, He checks
himself and, indeed, finds –
A white fleck of bright moonlight on the back of his black jacket.
Wait! He thinks: that is a fleck of plaster!
He wipes and wipes, still – he can’t get rid of it!
And se he goes on, filled with poison.
He rubs and rubs until dawn comes – at a white fleck of bright
Alban Berg (1885-1935)
 Adopted most of Schoenberg’s twelvenote system of composition
Combined twelve-tone techniques with
forms from earlier musical eras
 Opera Wozzeck (1917-1921) considered to
be greatest work
Anton Webern (1883-1945)
 Influenced by World War I environment
in Europe
 Works represent a radical departure from
established compositional procedures and concepts
 Vocal style depends heavily on
 Mature works epitomize serialist approach to
composition inherent in twelve-tone system
Mood of opera is one of cynicism, irony,
helplessness and depression
 Wrote little music; works tended to be short
 Complete output totals less than five hours of
 Music became increasingly influential after World
War II
 In 1970s and 1980s young composers such as
Pierre Boulez and Milton Babbitt adapted features
of his music and expanded techniques of serialism
Composed in 1928
Orchestral music
Sehr langsam und auberst ruhig (very slow and
extremely quiet
Seems to be ABA form, but beginning music
does not repeat
Listening Guide
Example from
CD 5, track 21,
pp. 275-276
Clarinet, French horn, trombone,
harmonium, mandolin, guitar, celesta, violin,
viola, cello, harp, bass drum, snare drum,
chimes, cowbells
Mostly sextuple meter, with variations
Listen to the entire movement: