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Schoenberg and Stravinsky - Essay Example

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The effect of the World War I made a great impact in the establishment of the new compositional explorations.
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Schoenberg and Stravinsky
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Schoenberg and Stravinsky The effect of the World War I made a great impact in the establishment of the new compositional explorations. The desire to move away to the "outworn conventions of old and dying way of life (Lebrecht 15)" and the determination to move away from the old tradition of compositional styles made way for the remarkable composers to draw their inspirations and musical ideas more and more from their own personal and internal psychological experiences (Lebrecht 15).
The years between 1900-1914 are one of most significant in the arts history. It produces a series of musical developments abandoning the realist tradition, i.e. the common practice period1 that had dominated the Western tradition since the Renaissance (Lebrecht 15). Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky thrived during this period and were greatly influenced by the aforementioned events.
Their works were regarded as under the 20th century musical style which is characterized by the extreme utilization of chromatics and dissonances. Both composers explored different compositional styles and their innovations fundamentally affected latter composers and shaped the course of 20th century music.
Their early works followed strict classical way. Examples of these are the string quartet composed by Schoenberg in 1897 and the Stravinsky's symphony in E major. In 1907, Arnold Schoenberg totally abandoned composing under the traditional tonal system. He proposed his new innovation the twelve tone system, a system which used tone rows as a basis of musical compositions (Lebrecht 63). This new twelve tone system is now regarded as a compositional style which is highly mathematically oriented.
However, this new compositional style introduced by Schoenberg brought about a division between the followers of the two composers. The group who favored the preservation of some type of tonality became adherents of Stravinsky, while those who adopted of the twelve tone system became the followers of Schoenberg.
Schoenberg used twelve tone system to their extreme while Stravinsky used a more diatonic and tonal idiom. Though they have a different perspective and compositional style, some of their works have some common characteristics. Their compositions both possess the style of neoclassicism, that is, music having transparency and clarity in the presence of dissonances. Examples of these are Schoenberg's five piano pieces (Lebrecht 194), Op. 23 No. 1 and Stravinsky's Histoire du soldat (Lebrecht 169).
Only Stravinsky rivaled Schoenberg's contribution in the 20th century music. However, despite his opposition on Schoenberg's twelve tone system, latter in his compositional career specifically a year after Schoenberg's death he also tried to make music utilizing it as he did to other historically materials. His compositions such as Canticum Sacrum composed in 1955 and Threni are manifestations of his usage of the twelve tone system. The music world was surprised when Stravinsky explored serialism (twelve tone system) and dodecaphony. This move dissolves the barrier between the adherents of Schoenberg and Stravinsky (Lebrecht 358).
Works Cited
Lebretch, Norman. The Companion to 20th Century Music. 1992. New York: Da Capo Press Read More
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