Music 266A:

Twentieth-Century Music before WW II

Fall, 2001

Required books:

  • Stravinsky, Igor et al., Twentieth-Century Piano Classics, Ed. Rima, (Dover).
  • Simms., Bryan R., Music of the Twentieth Century: An Anthology, (Schirmer Books), 1986.
    These anthologies will be used for musical examples for general discussion in class. Students will be responsible to get their own scores for the reports.
  • Watkins, Glenn, Soundings: Music in the Twentieth Century, (Schirmer Books), 1995.
    Students might also want to check out Watkins' other book, Pyramids at the Louvre (Harvard University Press, 1994), which discusses music and culture from Stravinsky to the Postmodernists.
  • Butler, Christopher, Early Modernism, (Oxford University Press, 1994).
    Literature, Music and painting in Europe 1900-1916.

  • The course is a seminer in music from the 1890's until the interval between WW I and WW II. It meets Tuesdays from 3-6, and there is a class on Sept. 25 which will organize the format of the discussions. The analysis of the primary works will concentrate on four years in the century: 1909, 1915, 1930, and 1942. Students will select works written around those years to be delivered as analytical presentations. Some samples from these years, as well as an extensive bibliography of books can be found by clicking here. Students are expected to attend ALL classes and participate in the discussion: absences will not be tolerated for any reason.

    Recommended background reading:

  • Burrow, J.W., The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914, (Yale University Press, 2000).
  • Watson, Peter, The Modern Mind, (Harper Collins, 2001).
    An intellectual history of the 20th century.
  • Schorske, Carl E., Thinking with History, (Princeton University Press, 1998).
    Explorations in the passage to modernism.
  • September 25: Preview of the course
    Background proceeding from the Enlightenment and Hegelian philosophy, through the repudiation in the work of Wagner and Nietzsche. Introduction of concepts of the unconscious and reactions to urban growth and the industrial revolution.
  • October 2: Introduction
    Clement Greenberg article on modernist painting will be discussed and informal plans of possible projects will begin. Also, reference will be made to synchronic vs. diachronic notions of history (excerpt from Leo Teitler's Music and the Historical Imagination will be handed out).
  • Oct. 9: Defining history.
    Read xeroxed excerpt from Music and the Historical Imagination, by Leo Treitler, (PP. 36-45). Read Soundings, PP. 2-23. Also, read xeroxed excerpt on the Avant-garde from , PP. 234-249.
    Modernism as an extension of self critical approach to the produciton of art (as oposed to kitsch, decorative or anecdotal art.
    Look at The Musical World, 1909-1912.
  • Oct. 16: Early Vienna, the beginnings of the Second Viennese School.
    Read Soundings, PP. 24-63.
    Read Butler, PP. 1-70, (The dynamics of change and The the development of a modernist aesthetic: new languages for painting and music).
  • Oct. 23: Debussy and Ravel and their modern extensions.
    Read Soundings. PP. 64-115
  • Oct. 30:Exoticism and Symbolism.
    Read Soundings, PP. 116-169.
    Read Butler, PP. 89-133, The modernist self.
  • Nov. 6: Expressionism and Primitivism. Stravinsky.
    Read Soundings, PP. 170-234.
    Read Butler, PP. 133-208, The City.
  • Nov. 13:Roots of Neoclassicism. Stravinsky II.
    Read Soundings, PP. 308-351.
  • Nov. 20:Second Viennese School II.
    Read Soundings, PP. 352-393.
    Read Butler, PP. 241-286, Aspects of the Avant-Garde.

  • Nov. 27:American Music
    Read Soundings, PP. 433-463.
  • Dec 4: Continue American Music.
    Readings from xeroxed handouts.

  • Updated: October 1, 2001.