At the end of the Romantic period, everything shifted. Art started moving towards the different ‘isms’ and music developed into a time which many classified as “modern”. A movement that started in the 20th century, modern classical music took a turn that surprised many. After a look at the history, music, and composers during the Modern music period, one can better understand it.
Similar to the path that modern art took, contemporary classical music broke away from tradition. The composers felt the need to express themselves in subjective forms. They started trying new techniques and paving their own road. Leaders of this time included famous men such as Gustav Mahler and Jean Sibelius. The writers took influences from various styles of music and started experimenting with different instruments to create unique sounds. Different music styles sprung out of this time, namely Neoclassicism and Impressionism. Enraged by this new ...view middle of the document...
After the World War I, a few composers returned to the previous structures of music and critics name this time, Neoclassicism. Impressionistic composers avoided traditional music form but the Neoclassicist composers embraced it. Other styles included folklore, primitivism, and expressionism. During all the tension with World War II, several international leaders berated the Modernist movement because of the departure from tradition. No one certain aspect classified this certain time because the composers all took their liberties with the music. All composers had various techniques,
The composers that lived during this time experienced a freedom unknown to preceding generations. Varying motivations led the men compose. Some craved artistic freedom while others felt a need to entertain and enlighten their audiences. One great composer, Claude Debussy, led the way with Impressionism and some credit him to starting the 20th century music era. He created the orchestral works, Nocturnes and the piano solo, Clair de Lune. Credited for writing The Firebird, a Russian ballet, and the controversial Rite of Spring, Igor Stravinsky could be seen as the archetype for a Modern Classical Music composer because of his unabashed detachment from previous musical styles. A “Second Viennese School” started in this time as well with leader, Arnold Schoenberg and included Alban Berg and Anton Webern. Likewise, American composers took advantage of this time too. One might know the names: George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and John Cage. The men all had different ideas in what made up music, thus composing contrasting pieces. The 20th century musical movement went across the globe with composers declaring their independence from traditions.
When the emotional Romantic music swept across stages in the 19th century, it paved the way for the modern classical music movement. Rebellion had already started trickling in with the impassioned music but composers officially threw off all Classical restraints in the 20th century era. However, not all audiences received the new styles with glee and many disputes erupted. With the history, distinct musical styles, and composers, one can catch a glimpse into the era that baffled many.