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Modernism and Music

An Anthology of Sources

If in earlier eras music may have seemed slow to respond to advances in other artistic media, during the modernist age it asserted itself in the vanguard. Modernism and Music provides a rich selection of texts on this moment, some translated into English for the first time. It offers not only important statements by composers and critics, but also musical speculations by poets, novelists, philosophers, and others-all of which combine with Daniel Albright’s extensive, interlinked commentary to place modernist music in the full context of intellectual and cultural history.

440 pages | 19 halftones | 6-5/8 x 9-3/8 | © 2003

Art: Art--General Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Music: General Music


"I highly recommend Daniel Albright’s collection as a useful set of texts for any course dealing with Modernism, especially Modernism in music. In no other place are so many important writings gathered together, and students will find the introductory and explanatory material extremely helpful when beginning their studies."

Alan Shockley | Fontes Artis Musicae

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
Arnold Schoenberg, "The Future of the Opera" (1927)
Sergei Prokofiev, from From My Life (1944)

2. Testing the Boundaries between Speech and Music
Harry Partch, from Genesis of a Music (1949)
Arnold Schoenberg, Foreword to Pierrot Lunaire (1912)
Arnold Schoenberg, "The Relationship to the Text" (1912)
Alban Berg, "Voice in Opera" (1929)
James Joyce, "Sirens" (1922)
Virginia Woolf, from The Waves (1931)
T. S. Eliot, "The Music of Poetry" (1942)
Carl Nielsen, from "Words, Music, and Program Music" (1925)
Paul Hindemith, from A Composer’s World (1949-50)

3. Testing the Boundaries between the Visual Arts and Music
Painting and Architecture
Arnold Schoenberg, from Harmonielehre (1911)
George Antheil, Letter to Nicolas Slonimsky (1936)
George Antheil, "Composer’s Notes on 1952-53 Re-Editing" [of Ballet Mécanique] (1953)
Theodor Adorno, from Philosophy of Modern Music (1948)
Morton Feldman, [Time-canvas] (1983)
Iannis Xenakis, from Formalized Music (1971)
Embodying Physical Movement: Ballet and FilmJaques-Dalcroze, "The Technique of Moving Plastic" (1922)
Hanns Eisler, from Composing for the Films (1947)

4. The New Music Theater
Friedrich Nietzsche, from The Birth of Tragedy (1872)
Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Letter to Richard Strauss (1911)
Kurt Weill, "Shifts in Musical Composition" (1927)
Kurt Weill, "Opera—Where To?" (1929)
Alban Berg, "The ’Problem of Opera’" (1928)
Ernst Krenek, from "Is Opera Still Possible Today?" (1936)
W. H. Auden, from "The World of Opera" (1967)

5. Fuller Universes of Music
Abolishing the Old Rules
Claude Debussy, Monsieur Croche antidilettante (1901)
Ferruccio Busoni, from Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music (1907)
Max Reger, "Degeneration and Regeneration in Music" (1907)
Charles Ives, from Essays before a Sonata (1920)
Charles Ives, "Postface to 114 Songs" (1922)
Charles Ives, "Music and Its Future" (1929)
Percy Grainger, "Free Music" (1938)

Arnold Schoenberg and Vassily Kandinsky, Correspondence (1911)
Luigi Russolo, "The Art of Noises: Futurist Manifesto" (1913)
Edgard Varèse, "Music and the Times" (1936)
John Cage, Fragments from Silence (1961)

6. New Discipline: The Twelve-Tone Method
Arnold Schoenberg, from "Composition with Twelve Tones": fiat lux (1941)
Anton Webern, from "The Path to Twelve-Note Composition" (1932)
Thomas Mann, from Dr. Faustus (1947)
Arthur Honegger, [The Twelve-Tone Method] (1951)
Leonard Bernstein, [The Twelve-Tone Method] (1976)
Benjamin Britten, [The Twelve-Tone Method] (1963)

7. Isms
Charles Baudelaire, from Richard Wagner and Tannhäuser in Paris (1861)
Marcel Proust, from Swann’s Way (1913)
Primitivism and Exoticism
Igor Stravinsky, "What I Wished to Express in The Consecration of Spring" (1913)
Igor Stravinsky, from An Autobiography (1934)
Béla Bartók, "The Influence of Peasant Music on Modern Music" (1931)
Richard Wagner, "Beethoven" (1870)
Oskar Kokoschka, Murderer, Hope of Women (1907, 1917)
Arnold Schoenberg, Letter to Wassily Kandinsky on Die glückliche Hand (1910-13)
Theodor Adorno, from Philosophy of Modern Music (1948)
Neoclassicism and the New Objectivity
Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus 1.3 (1922)
Igor Stravinsky, from An Autobiography (1936)
Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, from Expositions and Developments [Expressivity] (1962)
Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, from Expositions and Developments [Pulcinella] (1962)
Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, from Dialogues (1968)
Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, from Themes and Conclusions (1969)
Arnold Schoenberg, from Three Satires (1925)
Ernst Krenek, from "New Humanity and Old Objectivity" (1931)
Ernst Krenek, "Music and Mathematics" (1937)
Constant Lambert, "The Age of Pastiche" (1934)
Constant Lambert, [Stravinsky as Pasticheur] (1934)
Gertrude Stein, from Lectures in America (1935)
Maurice Ravel, Interview: [Ravel’s Toys] (1933)
Maurice Ravel, Interview: "Finding Tunes in Factories" (1933)
Dadaism and Surrealism
Kurt Schwitters: Ursonate: Rondo (1921-32)
Guillaume Apollinaire, Program Note for Parade (1917)
Erik Satie, Memoirs of an Amnesiac (1912)
Jean Cocteau, from Cock and Harlequin (1918)
Erwin Schulhoff, "For General Intelligibility as a Confession" (1919)
Edith Sitwell, "Hornpipe" (1922)
Ernst Krenek, "What Is Called the New Music, and Why?" (1937)

8. Music, Social Responsibility, and Politics
Hanns Eisler, "On Old and New Music" (1925)
Bertolt Brecht and Peter Suhrkamp, "The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre" (1930)
Friedrich Hollaender, Münchhausen (1931)
Friedrich Hollaender, "Cabaret" (1932)
Paul Hindemith, from A Composer’s World (1949-50)
Peter Kien, Der Kaiser von Atlantis: Final Scene (1943-44)
Arnold Schoenberg, A Survivor from Warsaw (1947)
L. N. Lebedinski, from Rayok: The Music Lesson (1957)

9. Testing the Boundaries between Popular and High Art
Ernest Ansermet, "On a Negro Orchestra" (1919)
Langston Hughes, The Big Sea (1940)
Langston Hughes, "Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed" (1946-47)
Ivan Goll, "The Negroes Are Conquering Europe" (1926)
Daniel Gregory Mason, from Tune In, America (1931)
George Gershwin, "The Composer and the Machine Age" (1933)
George Antheil, "The Negro on the Spiral, or A Method of Negro Music" (1934)
Gene Krupa and Leonard Bernstein, "Has Jazz Influenced the Symphony?" (1947)
Elliott Carter, "Once Again Swing" (1939)
Elliott Carter, "The Rhythmic Basis of American Music" (1955)

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