There are two parts of these assignment.
The first part:
Consider why certain styles of twentieth-century music, represented by Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, Anton Webern’s Five Pieces, Op. 10, and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, have failed to attain popularity among the general public, while Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) is fast becoming a favorite, even though it was NOT written by a composer who was considered to be mainstream. (Mainstream composers of orchestral works came primarily from Germany and Austria; scholars considered composers from the Czech lands to be peripheral, and therefore, less significant, until recently.)
Listen to the pieces detailed in the Week 7 Discussion folder and read “The Retreat to the Ivory Tower” (also provided in the Week 7 Discussion folder), which describes the Society for Private Music Performance, founded by Schoenberg, whose purpose was to introduce new, more avant-garde music to a select audience under specific conditions to help insure that the musical work introduced was appreciated without prejudice.
Scholars consider all of these works to be most significant. When pressed, they would still probably tell you that the least significant in the group would be the Dvorak symphony. Yet for many, it is the most pleasant to listen to. There is clearly a disconnect between the average audience member and the “professionals and initiates” referred to by Schoenberg’s student Alban Berg in the article mentioned above.
Consider the question of aesthetic value with regard to these works. In so doing, answer the following: What was your initial reaction to each of the selections? Does your response differ or agree with that of the scholars, outlined above? Whatever your stance, provide your explanation of the value of EACH of these works in today’s society.
Part 2 :
Consider all of the early 20th century music assigned for the week. Do you notice any general trends (or multiple trends)? How does this music compare to the music of the 18th and 19th centuries? What are some common threads? How does it differ from the music that came before it?
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