thumbnail of Contemporary Music in Evolution; 13; 1927
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Good evening. Last week I promised to play some works which showed various other reactions other than on last week's program to the new developments in music. Of course I realize every program I do features pieces which in one way or another reveal a given composer's reactions to the events of his time musical and otherwise. This is inevitable. But since in 1927 the year we're dealing with now some of these innovations and new developments were roughly a decade old and the various factions have had time to form ranks behind their leaders in rather specific ways. I thought it might be interesting to emphasize this aspect of the period we're dealing with. Last week then we had examples of the classic direction as it formed in the mid 20s. We heard works by two Spaniards as it happens but of course I could have played neo classical works by any number of other composers. Tonight we will see what three other composers did in 1997 with the new freedoms in musical language. We will hear works by
AS and the rest speak. On this series we have been following the development in considerable detail partly because the works themselves are of merit and partly because of the role they have played in shaping the language and philosophies of a more recent young generation. In this development we have reached a point at which they haven't had evolved a maximum of textural and contrapuntal complexity. And we find him now returning on several levels to a simpler and clearer style simpler and clearer structures thereby ushering in a period which was to produce Raven's most mature works including the great symphony. The variation pieces one for piano and the other for history and the last contact us. Ravens string trio Opus 20 which we shall hear presently is an important pivotal work in this development. It is to some extent also marked by a touch of neo
classes and curiously in the sense that they have been to momentarily return to classic forms. While this was in one way a reversal of his previous direction in respect to form it was seen in retrospect a necessary move for the human for by means of the classic forms he was able to return to larger films and indirectly as a result of this spreading out a loosening up and a simplification of structure. It must be remembered that the average duration of all previous Vivan works except the Opus One passage Khaya was about one or two minutes. Even vagrant began to find these small forms confining and leading to a condensation and intensification which seemed to have reached its practical limits. The return to classic forms probably under some influence from Schoenberg in this respect who was making similar experiments at the time. The return to
classic form seemed to be the answer at least for a while. To be sure the trio uses classical form in a fairly free manner that is to say the rondo form of the first movement and the sonata form of the second movement are combined with the 12 tone concept of total variation. And by these means the smaller cells and structures that make up the larger forms operate on a multiplicity of levels which is worlds away from 19th century usages of these same forms. They've been allows a certain degree of recapitulation and there are even two instances of outright repetition in the second movement. But in general he subjects the motivic material to constant variation. Main approach in this respect is an old device of polyphony used hundreds of times by Buffalo example into changing the voices or lines in a contrapuntal structure
that is to say what first appeared for example in the violin is transferred to the cello and then to the viola. Or what was in the viola moves the violin and then to the cello. And so on until all motives have been played by all the instruments in a kind of instrumental permutation. The further fact that they have been is riding with three string instruments whose articulation and register displacement are to a large extent interchangeable. Gives him of course a tremendous freedom of mobility. It makes his texture constantly kaleidoscopic Lee changing one one which is of course very difficult to follow in all its ramifications and detail especially on a single listening. To clarify perhaps a little by musical examples what I have just described in words let me play for you for very brief excerpts from the first movement of this string trio. The pitches and their serial continuity in these four excerpts are the
same in all four examples. But through rhythmic variation instrumental regrouping and register changes the four excerpts represent entirely different views of the same subject. Perhaps you will hear both the similarities and differences. Oh.
Let's do that once more. Oh.
The trio then with its strangely delicate fragmentation and neo pointillism in which the grace note plays an increasingly important role represents an important step in Batemans development especially from a formal structural point of view. From this vantage point begun could advance with certainty to the new formal and structural freedoms within a discipline which had never been attained before. It is this freedom compain with discipline that are the essence of last works. It is also this freedom which manifests itself among other things in a unique kind of expression which is totally lacking in the craft. Supervised recording of this trio. The performance here is cold mechanical and the players
seem to have no idea why they are doing what they are doing. Moreover the tempos which are too fast and nervous add to the impression of a lack of a pull off with the music. I will therefore turn to an earlier recording excerpts of which you just heard made in England on 78 which is also not perfect but seems to me to be well put it simply more involved and more musical that is involved in the sense of participation. To be sure there are some inaccuracies. One or two quite glaring ones as a matter of fact. And the performers commit the mortal sin of not making the important repeat in the second movement. Obviously however for time limitations on the old seventy eight's but at least they play at the proper temple with much more dynamic contrast and in general are more inside the music or at least their concept of the music. But the point is it is a concept whereas the craft recording seems to have none other than a kind of mechanical exercising of fingers and bow arm.
RAEBURN string trio Opus 20 is heard now as played by the English Washburn string trio on an old Decca disc. Yeah.
Yeah. Oh.
So much for a bronze string trio Opus 20. In
America the composer Edgar as I was taking a basically different point of view on the new problems of structure and organization. It may have been used repetition only rarely and reluctantly has employed it as his main compositional device a device which gave his music a strange almost ritualistic intensity born of the accumulation through repetition of son Arik energies. On this series I have showed how about as applied this approach in works for chamber various chamber ensembles. We shall now hear the work in which as first employed these techniques in the orchestra. It is a work which speaks very much for itself. It has a weakness it is perhaps that it seems just a shade too long but it is supposedly imaginative music unfettered by previous modes of expression. And yet a kind of continuity of them. And I wish to emphasize that in its specific instrumental uses especially as regards his use of percussion.
This work predates most of what is now being done. And incidentally hawked as brand new by a host of young European composers. I can think of at least a dozen pieces I heard at last year's I assume festival in Cologne which used instruments but especially the percussion in almost exactly the same manner as used in bad as arcana of one hundred twenty seven. Going to A. With. Good.
Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.
Wait. Wait. Thank. My. Weight.
Thank. You. Thank you. Yes. Mum.
Will. The in. My.
Leg. My. Partner my. Ai.
Thank. You. However.
Eh eh.
Eh eh. Eh eh. Eh eh. Eh eh. Eh eh. Eh eh. Eh eh. Eh eh. Eh. I.
Play. I've. I've. Eh eh.
Eh eh. Eh eh. I've. Heard. I've.
I've. I've. I've. I've. It. Was. I. Was. Playing.
Live. Cry cry cry cry cry cry cry.
From Valdez now we turn to an example of a composer who chose to ignore the new rumblings in contemporary music. I'm speaking of you know they speak perhaps that is an unfair statement to make about him. For as I have pointed out in the case of other composers like Neil's and Zubin just not man enough and others to speak he was too set in his ways. When the Schoenberg and starving skin revolutions were unleashed to be able to change Moreover recipe only three years Stravinsky's Sr. came from a musical environment in which radicalism never seemed to be able to catch much of a hold. That is entirely a country in which outside of the so-called Futurists in the 1910s musicians were mainly still arguing about whether
Musk put Cheney or Giordano had flagrantly violated Italian operatic traditions or not. And yet other you know to speak he was a remarkably talented man in many ways not the important ways perhaps but in certain less fundamental areas. One can say without fear of contradiction that I speak he was a master orchestrator and a master of those late 19th century forms and techniques which he espoused these techniques turned out to be outmoded. But at least he brought them along with Rahman enough to a final and a Christic flowering. You can hear some of these qualities in a speakeasy Brazilian impressions. A three movement work which the title is of course self explanatory. I should add however that my favorite movement is the first which is subtitled tropic night and certainly is unique talent in foolproof orchestration in the utmost refinement of coloristic Impressionism
is in full evidence here as he paints the steaming heady atmosphere of a tropical summer night. Moreover the performance is remarkable. In fact near-perfect and features a clarinet player who is liquid and controlled tone is in itself a pure joy to the ears. The recording is a pre-war 78 superbly engineered performance by the Munich Munich Philharmonic conducted by US about combat staff. By the way for those of you enjoy this kind of music most of all you better listen carefully for I as I proceed through the years in this series and this chronological series there will be less a city less and less of these kind of works. At least it was worth playing. Because I'm certainly not going to stoop to playing Howard Hanson. Let us listen to recipes Brazillian impressions. You are.
You're. Right.
Up up up up. Lord.
Contemporary Music in Evolution
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-xd0qwx3f).
Series Description
Contemporary Music in Evolution is a radio program hosted by Gunther Schuller, which traces the evolution of Western classical music from 1899 to 1961. Each episode focuses on a specific year and chronicles some of the significant works, schools, and composers of the time. Schuller introduces several performance recordings in each episode, and gives commentary and analysis that also touch on previous episodes.
Recorded Music
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Schuller, Gunther
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-36-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Contemporary Music in Evolution; 13; 1927,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “Contemporary Music in Evolution; 13; 1927.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Contemporary Music in Evolution; 13; 1927. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from