Series 4 – Atonalism, Alienation & Appeasement

Listeners of classical music often find 20th century music difficult and demanding. The century spans the end of Romanticism, Atonalism, neo- Classicalism, Chance Music, Electronic Music and Minimalism to name a few. Each of these new musical ideas was a reaction by composers against the status quo. This series tries to demystify this music by putting it into a historical and sociological context, looking at the World Wars, the rise of Communism, Nazism and the Cold War. Understanding ‘how’ and ‘why’ composers wrote as they did, helps to better comprehend the music from this complex period in history.

1. 1900-1914

the 20th century inherited a musical language ready to collapse. Many older composers continued to compose in the style of the late Romantics while others wanted to explore new musical horizons.

2. World War I and its aftermath

there is a Russian saying that “when the guns talk, the muses fall silent”. This was definitely the case during WWI but what happened after the war?

Communism, Fascism and Democracy

How did music change in Communist Russia, Fascist Germany and Democratic America between the wars?

World War II

WWII was the first conflict to take place in the age of mass electronic communication. How did music on the radio and live performances affect both the soldiers fighting in the war and on the home front? What has been WW2’s legacy musically?

5. Music during the Cold War

After the war a massive split occurred in the musical world. Groups of composers and musicians alienated themselves from the rest of the music making and concert going communities. What were the consequences of this?

6. 1970's to the present day

This period has been called the “Age of Convergence” where there is no dominant musical form but an ever increasing pallet of musical ideas for composers to work.

  • Classes must be taken as a series of 6.
  • Each class runs for 1 and a half hours starting with coffee and cake. Please see website or call Andy for course times and dates.
  • All classes are held once a month and last for 1 and a half hours.
  • Minimum of 5 per class.
  • Locations are the Eastern suburbs or North Shore. They are easily accessable by public transport.
  • Address will be supplied upon enrollment.
  • Classes may be conducted elsewhere and can be customised to fit your specific group.