Reply To: Music

  • Encyclios

    April 24, 2023 at 9:30 AM

    The 20th century: from the sixties to the eighties

    After World War II, the gap between the different orientations that were emerging developed even more pronounced, leading to a multiplication of styles and trends. On the one hand, the season of the “Avant-Garde”, originating from the Darmstadt School, underwent multiple evolutions, both with the general rejection of compositional procedures of strict rationalist observance and the revaluation of random elements and improvisational techniques, and with the creation of forms of musical theater that were free from the traditional modules of opera (an example of this is the work of Luciano Berio). Moreover, the development of technologies has offered new tools to creation, both in terms of electronic music and, in more recent times, in terms of electroacoustic research and computer science.

    In another direction, there has never been a lack of sincere interest in musical theater on the part of numerous artists who, by reconnecting with experiences and personalities that seemed obsolete and that instead turned out to be extremely vital – such as that of Richard Strauss – have brought the opera season to a new and unthinkable development (Benjamin Britten, Hans Werner Henze). Moreover, the American avant-garde movements, not without provocative and stimulating implications (John Cage, Morton Feldman), moved towards overcoming the aesthetic barriers between the different musical genres. At the end of the Sixties, the current of minimalism developed (Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, John Adams) – based on progressive and imperceptible changes in the fabric of sound – which would later find a great deal of attention in Europe as well, as a way out of the crisis of the historical avant-garde. In fact, the isolation in which musical research has developed over the last half century has led emerging composers at the beginning of the 1980s to seek a new relationship with the public, on the basis of very different experiences, which seem, however, to have in common the recovery of an aesthetic and emotionally involving function of the musical fact. The return to the opera house, to traditional genres by European composers (Wolfgang Rhim, Lorenzo Ferrero, Alfred Schnittke) or the recovery of archaic and Gregorian techniques (Arvo Pärt) are only some of the results of this orientation, which nevertheless suffers from a general loss of cultural centrality.