Chapter 33. Between the World Wars: The Classical Tradition

Chapter Outline



Music in the classical tradition continued to diversify in style and concept between the world wars, as composers sought individual solutions to the common problem of finding a place in the crowded classical repertoire. In all nations and regions, music composition became increasingly-or perhaps only more overtly-tied to political concerns and ideologies. Government regulation of music was especially strong in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Some composers in the classical tradition-reacting to social and political pressures, to the economic crisis of the Depression, to their older modernist colleagues, or to the perceived loss of a listening public for modern music-sought to reconnect with a large audience, while others pursued new ideas with little concern for popularity. Throughout the Americas a growing number of composers won international reputations with music that represented their nations on the world stage. An experimental or “ultramodernist” tradition emerged in the United States alongside a growing nationalist trend, both representing assertions of independence from Europe. 

Chapter Outline: 

  1. Music, Politics, and the People
    1. Music became increasingly tied to politics.
      1. In the nineteenth century, some felt that music transcended politics.
      2. Even then, music could not escape its association with the social elite and nationalism.
      3. In the 1930s, the Soviet Union and Germany suppressed modernist music.
    2. Music in the United States
      1. During the Depression, composers were concerned about the gap between modernism and audiences.
        1. They began to compose in more accessible styles.
        2. They wrote music for films, theater, and dance, some of which addressed social issues.
        3. Music in a modern style was written for amateur performers.
      2. Composers in the Americas won international recognition with music that reflected their national heritage.
      3. In the United States, an ultramodernist tradition emerged as well.
    3. Most governments sponsored musical activities.
      1. Public schools increasingly included music in the curriculum.
      2. A teaching method by Zolt�n Kod�ly was adopted in schools across Europe and North America.
      3. Government-controlled radio in Europe employed musicians.
      4. The New Deal in the United States created programs for unemployed musicians.
  2. France
    1. Politics and musical life had long been intertwined in France.
    2. After World War I, nationalists argued that French music was classic, as opposed to the Romanticism of Germany.
      1. Neoclassicism became prevalent in France and was characterized by:
        1. Classical genres and forms
        2. Tonal centers, often created through neotonality
        3. Restrained emotions and the rejection of Romantic excess
      2. The definition of “classic” was debated.
        1. Conservatives, like d’Indy, saw it as meaning balance, order, and tradition.
        2. Leftist composers, like Ravel, saw it as encompassing the international and not merely the national.
    3. Les Six
      1. “Les Six” (The Six) was a group of six young composers who drew inspiration from Satie (see HWM Figure 33.1).
        1. Arthur Honegger (1892-1955)
        2. Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
        3. Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
        4. Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983)
        5. Georges Auric (1899-1983)
        6. Louis Durey (1888-1979)
      2. They adopted neoclassicism but avoided political dichotomies.
      3. The group collaborated in several joint projects, but each went in an individual way.
        1. Durey never fully conformed to the doctrines.
        2. Tailleferre, the most neoclassic, drew upon Couperin and Rameau in her Piano Concerto (1923-24) and other works.
        3. Auric was the most taken with Satie’s avant-garde approach.
        4. Honegger, Milhaud, and Poulenc achieved the greatest success.
    4. Arthur Honegger
      1. Musical style
        1. Dramatic action and graphic gesture
        2. Short-breathed melodies
        3. Strong ostinato rhythms
        4. Bold colors
        5. Dissonant harmonies
      2. Pacific 231 (1923), a symphonic movement that creates the impression of a speeding locomotive, was hailed as a modernist masterpiece.
      3. King David (1923), an oratorio, established his international reputation.
        1. Honegger combines the tradition of amateur chorus with allusions to Gregorian chant, Baroque polyphony, and jazz.
        2. Neoclassicism can be seen in the use of pre-Romantic styles, traditional forms, and the prevailing diatonic language.
    5. Darius Milhaud
      1. Milhaud was extremely prolific and composed in a wide variety of genres.
      2. His works are stylistically diverse.
        1. Le boeuf sur la toit (The Ox on the Roof, 1919), a ballet, is comic.
        2. Christophe Colomb (1928), an opera-oratorio, is earnest.
        3. Sacred Service (1947) reflects Milhaud’s Jewish heritage.
      3. incorporated sounds from the Americas.
        1. La creation du monde (The Creation of the World, 1923), a ballet, features saxophones, ragtime syncopations, and the blues.
        2. Le boeuf sur la toit (The Bull on the Roof, 1919) and Saudades do Brasil (Souvenirs of Brazil, 1920-21) contain Brazilian folk melodies and rhythms.
      4. Saudades do Brasil also features polytonality, a technique that he employed in other works as well (see HWM Example 33.1).
      5. Although he absorbed neoclassicism, his openness to foreign influences ranging from Schoenberg to jazz set him apart from d’Indy and the others.
    6. Francis Poulenc
      1. Poulenc drew upon the Parisian popular chanson tradition found in cabarets and revues, thereby violating the strictures of d’Indy.
      2. His music can be graceful, witty, and satirical.
      3. A wide range of styles were employed by Poulenc in his instrumental works, including neoclassicism, song-influenced melodies, and mild dissonance.
      4. He excelled in vocal works, including sacred works and songs.
      5. Dialogues of the Carmelites (1956), a three-act opera, raises political issues in its depiction of the execution of the Carmelite nuns during the French Revolution.
  3. Germany
    1. During the Weimar Republic (1919-1933), political contentions were echoed in music.
    2. Nazis came into power in 1933.
      1. Modernist music was attacked for being decadent.
      2. People on the political left and Jews were banned from public life.
      3. Many leading musicians left the country.
    3. New Objectivity emerged in the 1920s.
      1. This was a trend against the emotional intensity and complexity of the late Romantics and the expressionism of Schoenberg and Berg.
      2. It used familiar elements borrowed from sources such as jazz, Classical, and Baroque music.
      3. Followers believed that music should be objective and widely accessible.
    4. Ernst Krenek (1900-1991)
      1. Jonny spielt auf (1927) exemplifies the ideals of New Objectivity.
        1. Krenek’s opera uses European and African-American jazz traditions.
        2. The opera was a success, but was attacked by Nazis for using African-American elements.
      2. Krenek later adopted the twelve-tone method and moved to the United States.
    5. Kurt Weill (1900-1950)
      1. Weill was also an advocate of New Objectivity.
      2. An opera composer, he sought to combine social commentary with entertainment for everyday people rather than the intellectual elite.
      3. Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera, 1928)
        1. Another collaborative effort with Brecht, this opera is based on the libretto of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera.
        2. Lotte Lenya, Weill’s wife, sang in the production and championed Weill’s works after his death (see HWM Figure 33.2).
        3. It parodies American songs and juxtaposes eighteenth-century ballad texts, European dance music, and American jazz.
        4. The work was an enormous international hit, but the Nazis banned it in 1933.
      4. Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, 1930)
        1. Weill collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on this allegorical opera.
        2. Weill incorporates elements of popular music and jazz, which can be heard in the inclusion of jazz instruments in the pit orchestra.
        3. The story exposed the failures of capitalism.
      5. Weill came to the United States and composed Broadway musicals, where he continued to exhibit characteristics of New Objectivity.
    6. Music under the Nazis
      1. The Reich Chamber of Culture included a Reich Music Chamber, to which all musicians had to belong.
      2. Richard Strauss was the first president, but was forced to resign when he continued to collaborate with a Jewish librettist.
      3. Nazis stipulated that music should not be dissonant, intellectual, Jewish, or jazz-influenced.
      4. Nazis focused on performances of the German tradition, especially the music of Wagner.
    7. Carl Orff (1895-1982)
      1. Orff established an international reputation, despite remaining in Germany.
      2. He was not sympathetic toward the Nazi regime.
      3. His best-known work is Carmina burana (1936), for chorus and orchestra.
        1. The texts are medieval goliard songs.
        2. Orff employed a simple neomodal idiom.
        3. Drawing from Stravinsky and other sources, Orff created a pseudo-antique style using drones, ostinatos, harmonic stasis, and strophic repetition.
      4. Orff also developed methods and materials for teaching music in schools.
  4. Paul Hindemith (1900-1950)
    1. Significance
      1. Hindemith was one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth century.
      2. He was an important teacher and thought of himself as a practicing musician.
    2. The Weimar period
      1. He began composing in a late Romantic style.
      2. He then developed an individual expressionist style.
      3. Soon he adopted the aesthetics of New Objectivity.
        1. He composed seven works entitled Kammermusik (Chamber Music, 1922-27) that encompass a variety of forms, including neo-Baroque ritornello.
        2. These later works are neotonal.
      4. Gebrauchmusik (music for use)
        1. Hindemith was disturbed by the gulf between modern music and audiences.
        2. Gebrauchmusik was intended for young or amateur performers.
        3. The style was modern, the quality good, and the music challenging and rewarding to perform.
      5. Mathis der Maler (1934-35)
        1. Hindemith’s opera questioned the role of politics in the arts.
        2. He forged a symphony from the opera entitled Symphony Mathis der Maler (1933-34), his best-known work.
        3. The story is based on the life the artist Matthias Grünewald, who painted the Isenheim alterpiece (see HWM Figure 33.3).
        4. Grünewald struggles between his role in a rebellion and his art, perhaps an allegory for Hindemith’s own career.
        5. The Nazis banned the opera in 1936.
      6. Harmonic fluctuation
        1. Hindemith developed a neo-Romantic style for Mathis der Maler that uses harmonic fluctuation.
        2. Harmonic fluctuation is a harmonic method based on growing dissonance and eventual return to consonance (see HWM Example 33.2).
    3. Hindemith left Germany and settled in the United States; his later works include:
      1. Sonatas for almost every orchestral instrument
      2. Ludus tonalis (Tonal Play, 1942)
        1. This work for piano recalls Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.
        2. It has twelve fugues, each centered on a different note in the chromatic scale.
      3. Symphonic Metamorphosis after Themes of Carl Maria von Weber (1943)
      4. Symphony in B-flat for band (1951)
    4. Un cygne (A Swan, 1939), from Six Chansons (NAWM 153)
      1. Six Chansons are settings of poems by Rainier Maria Rilke for a cappella chorus.
        1. Composed in Switzerland, these works are for amateur or school performers.
        2. In the tradition of the chanson, the text is set syllabically and with sensitive declamation.
      2. The first section is based on the first two lines of poetry.
        1. The first phrase suggests the gliding of a swan with a gentle melodic phrase over parallel fourth chords.
        2. The next two phrases vary these ideas.
        3. The second line begins with brief imitation (measures 5-7) and warmly supports the image of the loved one.
      3. The second section interweaves the two ideas of the first section.
        1. The opening idea returns (measures 11-14).
        2. The music expands with the reference to “our troubled soul.”
        3. The final phrase reprises the opening motive and the idea associated with the loved one.
      4. The harmony exemplifies the technique of harmonic fluctuation, which moves from relative consonant to dissonance and back to consonance.
  5. The Soviet Union
    1. The government controlled all aspects of the arts.
      1. Theaters, conservatories, concert halls, and other music institutions were nationalized.
      2. Concert programming was strictly regulated.
    2. During the relatively freer 1920s, two organizations were established.
      1. The Association for Contemporary Music sought to continue modernist trends established by Scriabin and others.
      2. The Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians, seeing the modernist tradition as being elitist, encouraged simple music with mass appeal.
      3. After Stalin came into power in 1929, dissent was quashed, and the two groups were replaced in 1933 by the Union of Soviet Composers.
    3. In 1934, a writers’ congress promulgated socialist realism as the ideal for Soviet arts.
      1. Realism was adopted for literature, drama, and painting.
      2. Works needed to portray socialism in a positive light.
      3. Music was created with some of these qualities:
        1. A relatively simple and accessible language
        2. Emphasis on melody, often drawn from folk styles
        3. Patriotic and inspirational subject matter
      4. “Formalism” was a derogatory term for interest in modernism and music for its own sake.
    4. Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953)
      1. Prokofiev made an initial reputation as a radical modernist.
      2. He left Russia after the Revolution.
        1. He resided in North America and western Europe for almost two decades.
        2. During this time he composed solo piano works and concertos for his own performance.
        3. Among his commissioned works are the opera The Love for Three Oranges (1921), written for Chicago, and ballets for Diaghilev.
      3. Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union in 1936 and fulfilled several Soviet commissions.
        1. Lieutenant Kijé (1934), originally for film and later arranged as an orchestral suite
        2. Romeo and Juliet (1935-36), a ballet
        3. Peter and the Wolf (1936), a narrated fairy tale for orchestra
        4. Alexander Nevsky (1938), a cantata drawn from film music
      4. When government control relaxed, Prokofiev turned to classical genres.
      5. The Piano Sonatas Nos. 6-8 (1939-44) and the Fifth Symphony are largely tonal, but contain some distinctive features of his earlier style.
      6. After World War II, Prokofiev was admonished for being a “formalist.”
    5. Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) (see HWM Figure 33.4)
      1. Shostakovich was trained within the Soviet system.
      2. In the 1920s, he was aligned with the modernist composers.
      3. The First Symphony (1926) brought him international recognition.
      4. Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
        1. The opera premiered in 1934 and was initially a great success.
        2. Stalin, however, was angered by its content and style.
        3. Shostakovich was criticized in the newspaper Pravda for his dissonances and lack of melody (see HWM Source Reading, page 879).
        4. The production was closed, and Shostakovich may have feared for his life.
    6. The Fifth Symphony (1937) received great acclaim.
      1. The symphony can be seen as a response to the criticism of his opera; the work was described as “a Soviet artist’s reply to just criticism.”
      2. The symphony conforms to social realism with its optimistic, populist outlook and its easily understood tonal language.
      3. Inspired by Mahler, the work encompasses a wide range of styles and moods.
      4. It is a heroic symphony in the vein of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, with four movements.
        1. The dynamic opening movement, in sonata form, suggests a struggle.
        2. The scherzo-like allegretto adopts the jarring contrasts of a Mahler scherzo.
        3. The sorrowful slow movement evokes traditional Russian funeral music.
        4. The finale is boisterous, but the triumphal character can also be interpreted as false enthusiasm.
    7. The Fifth Symphony (1937), second movement (NAWM 154)
      1. The movement follows the traditional ABA of the classical scherzo.
      2. Section A is modified binary form.
        1. The material develops from a number of motives.
        2. Shostakovich provides strong contrasts of colors and styles, including a crude waltz and a boisterous military march.
      3. Section B, in a rounded binary form, features an elegant waltz theme played by a solo violin.
      4. The reprise of A alters the orchestration at the beginning, recalling the timbres of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
      5. The harmony contains many unexpected turns.
        1. The tonal areas seem to be more often asserted than established.
        2. The work seems to be neotonal music pretending to be tonal.
    8. Later works
      1. The Seventh Symphony (Leningrad, 1941), which deals programmatically with the defense of Leningrad against Hitler’s armies, won sympathetic audiences in the United States and Britain.
      2. Shostakovich was subject to the same crackdown that affected Prokofiev.
      3. He signed a number of his works with the notes D-E-flat-C-B (in German nomenclature, that is D-Es-C-H for Dmitri SCHostakovich).
  6. The Americas
    1. Several composers from the Americas gained international recognition between the wars.
      1. These composers created distinctive national styles.
      2. Sometimes their nationalism was linked with politics.
    2. Canada
      1. Musical life in Canada was similar to musical life in the United States.
      2. Concerts primarily presented the European classical repertoire.
      3. Professional orchestras were founded in major cities during the twentieth century, beginning with Quebec (1903) and Toronto (1906).
      4. Claude Champagne (1891-1965) was the first Canadian composer to achieve an international reputation.
        1. He learned French-Canadian fiddle tunes and dances in his youth.
        2. As a young man, he was deeply influenced by Russian composers.
        3. He studied in Paris (1921-28), where he encountered Renaissance polyphony and the music of Fauré and Debussy.
        4. He developed a distinctive national style in Suite canadienne (Canadian Suite, 1927) for chorus and orchestra, using elements from French-Canadian folk music and polyphonic French chansons.
        5. Dance villageoise (Village Dance, 1929), his best-known work, evokes both French-Canadian and Irish folk styles.
    3. Brazil
      1. Art music had been established in Brazil by the end of the nineteenth century with the operas of Gomes and the works of several others.
      2. Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) was the most important Brazilian composer.
        1. He blended traditional Brazilian elements with modernism.
        2. Between 1923 and 1930, he spent most of his time in Paris, where he established himself as Latin America’s most prominent composer.
        3. Returning to Brazil in 1930, he promoted music in schools through choral singing.
        4. He has been criticized for supporting the Brazilian dictatorship.
      3. Choros (1920-28), a series of fourteen pieces, is among Villa-Lobos’s most characteristic works.
        1. The title is a type of popular ensemble music in the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
        2. The works are for various media from solo guitar or piano to orchestra with chorus.
        3. Each blends a vernacular style of Brazil with modernistic techniques.
      4. Bachianas brasileiras (1930-45), a set of nine works, pays homage to Bach.
        1. Each is a suite of two to four movements.
        2. These neoclassic works combine elements of Baroque and Brazilian folk music.
        3. Villa-Lobos’s most famous work is Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 (1938-45) for solo soprano and eight cellos.
    4. Mexico
      1. Beginning in 1921, the Mexican government promoted a new nationalism in the arts that drew on native Indian cultures.
      2. Diego Rivera and other artists were commissioned to paint murals in public buildings that illustrated Mexican life (see HWM Figure 33.5).
      3. Carlos Chávez (1899-1978) was the first composer associated with the new nationalism.
        1. He served as conductor of Mexico’s first professional orchestra and director of the national conservatory.
        2. He composed two ballets on Aztec scenarios.
        3. Sinfonia india (Indian Symphony, 1935-36) uses Indian melodies in a modernist idiom.
        4. Sinfonia romantica (Symphony No. 4, 1953) is not so overtly nationalist.
      4. Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940)
        1. Revueltas studied in Mexico and the United States.
        2. His music combines folklike melodies and popular music with a modernist idiom.
    5. Sensemayá (1938) by Silvestre Revueltas (NAWM 155)
      1. This symphonic work is a song without words based on a poem by the Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén.
      2. The poem tells of an African-Cuban magical rite in which a snake is symbolically killed.
      3. Revueltas set the poem to a melody, and then used the melody (without the words) throughout the work.
      4. The work can be seen in four sections (see diagram in the NAWM 155 commentary).
      5. Section 1 (measures 1-87)
        1. Throughout this section, percussion instruments play a pattern of eight eighth notes in 7/8 meter; the pattern suggests the name “sen-se-ma-yá.”
        2. The bass clarinet and bassoon play ostinatos that are passed on to other instruments.
        3. The snake theme enters in the tuba (measures 9-20) and is later picked up by other instruments.
        4. The first four stanzas of the melody alternate between the strings and trombones, beginning in measure 46.
        5. An interlude closes the first section and presents a new theme representing man (trumpet, E-flat clarinet, and flute, measures 76-84).
      6. Section 2 (measures 88-99)
        1. The dramatic confrontation with the snake is depicted, as suggested by the fifth stanza.
        2. The “sen-se-ma-yá” rhythm is altered, and the trombones play the new rhythmic figure.
      7. Section 3 (measures 100-149)
        1. The material, which is similar to that of the first section, is frequently interrupted by a single measure of 7/16 with rapid sixteenth-note figures.
        2. The struggle between snake and man is suggested.
        3. The theme of man reappears (measure 119).
        4. The trombones state the melody for the sixth stanza (measures 133-142).
        5. An interlude pictures violent blows to the snake (measure 142) and the writhing snake’s death agony (measure 145).
      8. Section 4 (measures 150-172)
        1. The celebratory postlude presents the last stanza of the poem.
        2. Earlier themes return and build to a powerful climax.
  7. The United States
    1. New musical links developed between the United States and Europe.
      1. Many European composers fled to the United States and became teachers.
      2. American composers went to France instead of Germany for study abroad.
      3. Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) taught classes in Paris for America’s leading composers.
    2. Two trends developed among American composers during this time.
      1. An experimental trend focused on new musical resources.
      2. An Americanist trend blended nationalism with a new populism.
      3. Both drew upon European tradition but asserted independence as well.
    3. Edgard Varèse (1883-1965)
      1. Born in France, Varèse studied at the Schola Cantorum and Conservatoire.
      2. He was influenced by Debussy, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky.
      3. He moved to New York in 1915 and there wrote his first major work, Amériques (1918-21).
      4. Varèse created a series of works that sought to liberate composition from musical conventions, such as Intégrales (1924-25) and Ionisation (for percussion only, 1929-31).
      5. He believed that sounds were the essential structural components of music, and he considered all sounds acceptable as raw material.
        1. He imagined music as spatial, akin to an aural ballet.
        2. Sound masses-bodies of sound characterized by a particular timbre, register, rhythm, and melodic gesture-moved through music space.
        3. These sound masses change and interact.
      6. A great variety of percussion instruments are treated as equals to strings and winds.
      7. For Varèse, form is not something you start with but the result of the working out of material.
      8. Seeking new sounds, he turned to electronic sound generation and the tape recorder in two works created in the 1950s:
        1. Déserts (1950-54) for winds, percussion, and tape
        2. Poème electronique (1957-58) for tape
    4. Henry Cowell (1897-1965)
      1. Raised in California, Cowell had little training in traditional music.
      2. Many of his early pieces are experimental works for piano.
        1. The Tides of Manaunaun (ca. 1917) uses tone clusters sometimes created by pressing his fist or forearm on the keys.
        2. The Aeolian Harp (1923) has the player strum the piano strings while holding down chords on the keyboard.
        3. The Banshee (1925) requires an assistant to hold down the damper pedal while the pianist applies a variety of techniques to the strings.
      3. He summarized his ideas in New Musical Resources (1930).
      4. Eclectic in his choices, Cowell incorporated American, Irish, and Asian elements in his works.
      5. Cowell promoted music of others through concerts and the periodical New Music.
    5. Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953) (see HWM Figure 33.6)
      1. Ruth Crawford was the first woman to win a Guggenheim Fellowship in music.
      2. She was most active as a composer between 1924 and 1933 in Chicago and New York.
      3. She studied with musicologist Charles Seeger, and they married in 1932.
      4. Seeger developed theories about modern techniques that Crawford refined and applied to her music.
      5. While in New York, she experimented with serial techniques, applying them to parameters other than pitch.
      6. She later believed that preserving folk songs was a greater contribution to the nation’s musical life than writing more modernist works and began editing American folk songs from field recordings.
      7. The String Quartet (1931) is Crawford’s best-known work.
        1. In the first movement, four thematic ideas unfold in dissonant counterpoint.
        2. The second movement develops a short motive through counterpoint and convergence.
        3. The third movement features all four instruments sustaining long tones and taking turns coming to the foreground with crescendos.
    6. String Quartet, finale by Ruth Crawford (see NAWM 156 and HWM Example 33.3)
      1. The entire musical fabric is repeated in retrograde transposed up a semitone (measures 58-59 are the pivot point).
      2. Two-part counterpoint pits the first violin against the other instruments.
        1. The first violin begins with a single note and then continues adding one note at a time, always getting softer, until it reaches twenty-one notes.
        2. The other instruments, playing muted, interject phrases of twenty notes and then subtract one note at a time, always getting louder, until they’re playing just one note.
        3. The first violin plays a variety of rhythmic values, but the lower strings play only eighth notes.
        4. The pitches of the lower strings are derived from a ten-note series, in which the notes are rotated (see diagram in commentary to NAWM 156).
  8. Aaron Copland (1900-1990) (see HWM Figure 33.7)
    1. Biography
      1. Because of his Jewish faith, homosexuality, and leftist politics, he was somewhat of an outsider.
      2. He was one of the first American composers to study with Nadia Boulanger.
      3. He still became the most important central American composer of his generation.
    2. Compositional styles
      1. Jazz and strong dissonance play a part in his early works:
        1. Music for the Theatre (1925)
        2. Piano Concerto (1927)
      2. He developed a new style by reducing his modernist technique and combining it with simple textures and diatonic melodies and harmonies.
        1. El Salón Mexico (1932-36), an orchestra suite, incorporates Mexican folk songs.
        2. The ballets Billy the Kid (1938) and Rodeo (1942) use cowboy songs.
        3. He wrote the opera The Second Hurricane (1936) for schools.
        4. Film scores, including Our Town (1940), represent music “for use.”
    3. Appalachian Spring (1943-44) (see NAWM 157 and HWM Example 33.4)
      1. The ballet was written for Martha Graham, a leading modern dancer and choreographer.
      2. The story centers on a wedding in rural nineteenth-century Pennsylvania.
      3. The music won the Pulitzer Prize.
      4. Copland originally wrote this work for an ensemble of thirteen instruments, and later arranged it for full orchestra.
      5. Allegro and presto sections
        1. The changing meters, offbeat accents, and sudden changes of texture show the influence of Stravinsky.
        2. The diatonic melodies and harmonies, syncopation, and guitarlike chords give it an American character.
        3. Many passages combine consonant and dissonant notes of the diatonic scale, which has been called pandiatonicism.
        4. The rapid figures of the presto suggest country fiddling (measure 18).
        5. Counterpoint and motivic relationships link the work to European traditions.
      6. The Meno mosso (measure 138) produces a characteristic sound that suggests the open spaces and rugged people of frontier America.
        1. Leaps of fourths and fifths
        2. Wide spacing of chords
        3. Diatonic melodies
        4. Lightly dissonant diatonic chords
        5. A recollection of the beginning of the ballet (measure 151) includes superimposed tonic and dominant or tonic and subdominant triads.
      7. Variations on the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts (measure 171)
        1. The tune changes little in the successive variations.
        2. Variation one is for clarinet in A-flat major with simple accompaniment.
        3. Variation two (measure 191) is similar, a step lower, with the melody in the oboe and bassoon.
        4. Variation three, given to trombones and violas and later treated canonically, omits the second half of the tune.
        5. Variation four begins with the tune in the trumpet accompanied by the trombone.
        6. The final variation presents the two halves of the tune in reverse order.
      8. Copland’s style has been widely imitated and has become the quintessential musical sound of America, heard often in film and television.
    4. Later works by Copland
      1. The Third Symphony (1946) continues to exhibit his American idiom.
      2. He later adopts the twelve-tone method in some of his works.
        1. Piano Quartet (1950)
        2. Piano Fantasy (1957)
        3. Inscape (1967)
      3. Through these stylistic changes, Copland maintained an artistic identity.
  9. Other Americanists
    1. William Grant Still (1895-1978) (see HWM Figure 33.8)
      1. Still’s musical influences were diverse.
        1. Arranger for W. C. Handy
        2. Studies with Chadwick and Varèse
      2. He earned many “firsts” for an African-American musician:
        1. First to conduct a major orchestra in the United States (Los Angeles Philharmonic, 1936)
        2. First to have an opera produced by a major U. S. company (Troubled Island at New York’s City Center, 1949)
        3. First to have an opera televised over a national network
      3. He composed over 150 compositions in the classical tradition, many of which incorporated American idioms.
    2. Afro-American Symphony, first movement (1930; NAWM 158)
      1. This was the first symphonic work by an African-American composer to be performed by a major American orchestra.
      2. It has the traditional four movements.
        1. First movement sonata form
        2. Second movement slow
        3. Third movement scherzo
        4. Fourth movement fast
      3. Although not explicitly programmatic, each movement is a character sketch linked to some verses from a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
      4. Originally each movement had a subtitle: Longings, Sorrows, Humor, and Aspirations.
      5. The symphony incorporates African-American elements.
        1. Call and response
        2. Syncopations
        3. Varied repetition of short melodic or rhythmic ideas
        4. Jazz harmonies
        5. Dialogue between groups of instruments, as in a jazz arrangement
        6. Instrumental timbres common in jazz, such as trumpets and trombones muted with Harmon mutes
      6. The opening movement blends sonata form with an ABCBA form.
        1. A brief introductory melody in the English horn opens the symphony.
        2. The first theme, in the trumpet, has a twelve-bar blues structure in classic AAB form.
        3. The transition (measure 33) develops motives from the first theme.
        4. The second theme (measures 45-67), in G major, suggests a spiritual and is in an ABA’ form.
        5. The development (beginning in measure 68) fragments and develops thematic material in a European manner.
        6. The recapitulation brings back the themes in reverse order (measures 104 and 114 respectively).
        7. The second theme returns in A-flat minor, and the first in A-flat major.
        8. A brief coda suggests the introduction.
    3. Virgil Thomson (1896-1989)
      1. Thomson was a composer and a critic for the New York Herald Tribune.
      2. He studied with Nadia Boulanger.
      3. He was greatly influenced by Satie.
      4. He rejected modernism’s complexities and the obsession with past classical traditions.
      5. Thomson collaborated with Gertrude Stein on the opera Four Saints in Three Acts (1927-28)
        1. The libretto, based on the life of St. Teresa of Avila, seems absurdist.
        2. Thomson’s music reflects the nature of the text and mixes dance rhythms with familiar musical styles and diatonic chords.
        3. The result is often wild, with surprising juxtapositions.
      6. Thomson’s other music is more overtly American.
        1. Variations on Sunday School Tunes (1926-27) for organ and the Symphony on a Hymn Tune (1928) evoke nineteenth-century hymnody.
        2. The Mother of Us All (1947), another operatic collaboration with Stein, is based on the life of women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony.
        3. He composed a number of film scores using American elements, and claimed that Copland borrowed the Americanist style from him.
  10. Politics and Art Music
    1. Today’s audiences have largely forgotten the political circumstances in which music of this chapter was created.
      1. Works such as Poulenc’s sonatas, Orff’s Carmina burana, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, and Copland’s ballets now stand on their own without regard to politics.
      2. In some works from the Soviet Union, the insistence on immediate wide appeal has made these works popular today.
    2. The postwar depoliticizing of art music has led historians to focus more on the music and less on the circumstances of its creation.
    3. The most important aspect of music between the wars is its great variety, which is evident in the diverse musical styles of composers in the United States.

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