Nationalism, Alienation & Appeasement

Listeners of classical music often find 20th century music difficult and demanding. The century spans the end of Romanticism, Atonalism, neo- Classicalism, Chance Music, Electronic Music and Minimalism to name a few. Each of these new musical ideas was a reaction by composers against the status quo. This series tries to demystify this music by putting it into a historical and sociological context, looking at the World Wars, the rise of Communism, Nazism and the Cold War. Understanding ‘how’ and ‘why’ composers wrote as they did, helps to better comprehend the music from this complex period in history.


DELIVERY MODE

  • This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom.
  • This course requires students to have an email, a reliable internet connection, a microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


COURSE OUTLINE

  • 1900-1914: The 20th century inherited a musical language ready to collapse. Many older composers continued to compose in the style of the late Romantics while others wanted to explore new musical horizons.
  • World War I and its aftermath: There is a Russian saying that “when the guns talk, the muses fall silent”. This was definitely the case during WWI but what happened after the war?
  • Communism, Fascism and Democracy: How did music change in Communist Russia, Fascist Germany and Democratic America between the wars?
  • World War II: WWII was the first conflict to take place in the age of mass electronic communication. Music on the radio and live performances affected both the soldiers fighting in the war and on the home front. What has been WW2’s legacy musically?
  • Music during the Cold War: After the war a massive split occurred in the musical world. Groups of composers and musicians alienated themselves from the rest of the music making and concert going communities with interesting ramifications.
  • 1970’s to the present day: This period has been called the “Age of Convergence” where there is no dominant musical form but an ever-increasing pallet of musical ideas for composers to work with.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Point out the major influences affecting the musical world in the 20th century.
  2. Discuss different musical styles and their impact on the period.
  3. List some of the contributions major composers had on the period from a social as well as musical point of view.
$192 Limited / $173

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25 May

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