+ Impressionism, Expressionism and Primitivism MUSICAL STYLES Impressionism Impression, Sunrise (1872) Claude Monet As with most artistic movements, the Impressionist movement in music was a reaction to the previous era of music, namely the Romantic era, in which the music of many composers is heavy and overly dramatic by comparison. IMPRESSIONISM Originated in Paris, France during the late 19th century-early 20th century. Impressionism was a rejection of the Romantic style in which composers wrote music that portrayed emotions. The goal of Impressionism was to create a mood. Tone color Atmosphere Fluidity - the quality of sound that distinguishes one instrument or voice from another The sounds work together to create a space where sound becomes the encompassing theme, mood and character of the immediate environment. is used as a metaphor for the expressive relationship between the composer and performer Expressionism The term Expressionism was originally borrowed from visual art and literature. Artists created vivid pictures, distorting colours and shapes to make unrealistic images that suggested strong emotions. Expressionist composers poured intense emotional expression into their music exploring their subconscious mind. Expressionist music often features: A high level of dissonance Extreme contrasts of dynamics Constantly changing textures ‘Distorted’ melodies and harmonies Angular melodies with wide leaps Primitivism Primitivism is a word that describes the condition or quality that belongs to something crude and unrefined. In music, primitivism was a reaction to the rich complexity of Romanticism and later on, Impressionism. CHARACTERISTICS: Exploration of cultural concerns from outside of the European tradition Crudeness and rawness of materials. Abstraction of the figure in visual arts. Emphasis on rhythm and percussive elements in music. th 20 Century Composers Impressionism Claude Debussy (1862-1918) the primary exponent of the impressionist movement and the focal point for other impressionist composers he gained a reputation as an erratic pianist and a rebel in theory and harmony he won the top prize at the Prix de Rome competition with his composition L’ Enfant Prodigue (Prodigal Son) he got exposed to the music of Richard Wagner Debussy’s mature creative period was represented by the following works: Ariettes Oubliees Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun String Quartet Pelleas et Melisande (1895)—his famous operatic work that drew mixed extreme reactions for its innovative harmonies and textural treatments. La Mer (1905)—a highly imaginative and atmospheric symphonic work for orchestra about the sea Images, Suite Bergamasque, and Estampes—his most popular piano compositions; a set of lightly textured pieces containing his signature work Claire de Lune (Moonlight) His musical compositions total more or less 227 which include orchestral music, chamber music, piano music, operas, ballets, songs, and other vocal music The creative style of Debussy was characterized by his unique approach to the various musical elements. Debussy’s compositions deviated from the Romantic Period and is clearly seen by the way he avoided metric pulses and preferred free form and developed his themes. Debussy’s western influences came from composers Franz Liszt and Giuseppe Verdi. From the East, he was fascinated by the Javanese gamelan that he had heard at the 1889 Paris Exposition. From the visual arts, Debussy was influenced by Monet, Pissarro, Manet, Degas, and Renoir; and from the literary arts, by Mallarme, Verlaine, and Rimbaud. His role as the “Father of the Modern School of Composition” made its mark in the styles of the later 20th century composers like Igor Stravinsky, Edgar Varese, and Olivier Messiaen. Debussy spent the remaining years of his life as a critic, composer, and performer. He died in Paris on March 25, 1918 of cancer at the height of the First World War. Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) born in Ciboure, France to a Basque mother and a Swiss father. He entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of 14 where he studied with the eminent French composer Gabriel Faure. his compositional style is mainly characterized by its uniquely innovative but not atonal style of harmonic treatment. Ravel was a perfectionist and every bit a musical craftsman. A strong advocate of Russian music, he also admired the music of Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, and Mendelssohn. He died in Paris in 1937. Ravel’s works include the following: Pavane for a Dead Princess (1899), a slow but lyrical requiem Jeux d’Eau or Water Fountains (1901) String Quartet (1903) Sonatine for Piano (c.1904) Miroirs (Mirrors), 1905, a work for piano known for its harmonic evolution and imagination Gaspard de la Nuit (1908), a set of demonic-inspired pieces based on the poems of Aloysius Bertrand which is arguably the most difficult piece in the piano repertoire. These were followed by a number of his other significant works, including Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1911) Le Tombeau de Couperin (c.1917), a commemoration of the musical advocacies of the early 18th century French composer Francois Couperin, Rhapsodie Espagnole Bolero Daphnis et Chloe (1912), a ballet commissioned by master choreographer Sergei Diaghilev that contained rhythmic diversity, evocation of nature, and choral ensemble La Valse (1920), a waltz with a frightening undertone that had been composed for ballet and arranged as well as for solo and duo piano. The two piano concerti composed in 1929 as well as the violin virtuosic piece Tzigane (1922) total the relatively meager compositional output of Ravel, approximating 60 pieces for piano, chamber music, song cycles, ballet, and opera. Expressionism Arnold Franz Walter Schoenberg (1874-1951) Schoenbergwas born in a working-class suburb of Vienna, Austria on September 13, 1874. He taught himself music theory, but took lessons in counterpoint. German composer Richard Wagner influenced his work as evidenced by his symphonic poem Pelleas et Melisande, Op 5 (1903), a counterpoint of Debussy’s opera of the same title. Schoenberg’s style was constantly undergoing development. From the early influences of Wagner, his tonal preference gradually turned to the dissonant and atonal, as he explored the use of chromatic harmonies Although full of melodic and lyrical interest, his music is also extremely complex, creating heavy demands on the listener. His works were met with extreme reactions, either strong hostility from the general public or enthusiastic acclaim from his supporters. Schoenberg is credited with the establishment of the twelve-tone system. His works include the following: Verklarte Nacht, Three Pieces for Piano, op. 11 Pierrot Lunaire, Gurreleider Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night, 1899), one of his earliest successful pieces, blends the lyricism, instrumentation, and melodic beauty of Brahms with the chromaticism and construction of Wagner. His musical compositions total more or less 213 which include concerti, orchestral music, piano music, operas, choral music, songs, and other instrumental music. Schoenberg died on July 13, 1951 in Los Angeles, California, USA where he had settled since 1934. Primitivism Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) stands alongside fellowcomposer Schoenberg, painter Pablo Picasso, and literary figure James Joyce as one of the great trendsetters of the 20th century. He was born in Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov), Russia on June 17, 1882. Stravinsky’s early music reflected the influence of his teacher, the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In his first successful masterpiece, The Firebird Suite (1910),composed for Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet, his skillful handling of material and rhythmic inventiveness went beyond anything composed by his Russian predecessors. The Rite of Spring (1913) was another outstanding work When he left the country for the United States in 1939, Stravinsky slowly turned his back on Russian nationalism and cultivated his neo-classical style. Stravinsky adapted the forms th of the 18 century with his contemporary style of writing. Despite its “shocking” modernity, his music is also very structured, precise, controlled, full of artifice, and theatrically. Other outstanding works include the ballet Petrouchka (1911), featuring shifting rhythms and polytonality, a signature device of the composer The Rake’s Progress (1951) , a full-length opera, alludes heavily to the Baroque and Classical styles of Bach and Mozart through the use of the harpsichord, small orchestra, solo and ensemble numbers with recitatives stringing together the different songs. Stravinsky’s musical output approximates 127 works, including concerti, orchestral music, instrumental music, operas, ballets, solo vocal, and choral music. He died in New York City on April 6, 1971. Bela Bartok (1881-1945) born in Nagyszentmiklos, Hungary (now Romania) on March 25, 1881,to musical parents. He started piano lessons with his mother and later entered Budapest Royal Academy of Music in 1899. He was inspired by the performance of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra to write his first nationalistic poem, Kossuth in 1903. He was a concert pianist as he travelled exploring the music of Hungarian peasants. In 1906, with his fellow composer Kodaly, Bartok published his first collection of 20 Hungarian folk songs. For the next decade, although his music was being badly received in his country, he continued to explore Magyar folk songs. Later, he resumed his career as a concert pianist, while composing several works for his own use. As a neo-classicist, primitivist, and nationalist composer, Bartok used Hungarian folk themes and rhythms. He also utilized changing meters and strong syncopations. His compositions were successful because of their rich melodies and lively rhythms. He admire the musical styles of Liszt, Strauss, Debussy, and Stravinsky. Bartok is most famous for his Six String quartets (1908-1938). It represents the greatest achievement of his creative life, spanning a full 30 years for their completion. The six works combine difficult and dissonant music with mysterious sounds. The Concerto for Orchestra (1943), a five-movement work composed late in Bartok’s life, features the exceptional talents of its various soloists in an intricately constructed piece. The short and popular Allegro Barbaro (1911) for solo piano is punctuated with swirling rhythms and percussive chords, while Mikrokosmos (1926– 1939), a set of six books containing progressive technical piano pieces, introduced and familiarized the piano student with contemporary harmony and rhythm. His musical compositions total more or less 695 which include concerti, orchestral music, piano music, instrumental music, dramatic music, choral music, and songs. In 1940, the political developments in Hungary led Bartok to migrate to the United States, where he died on September 26, 1945 in New York City, USA.