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Neoclassicism in the Interwar Period, part 1

Last week we discussed the daring and outlandish twelve-tone system, which challenged audiences more than ever before to find the meaning behind the sounds in music. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, the Romantic period had reached a point of near-breakdown in the large-scale, autobiographical tone poems and epic symphonic works of Richard … Continue reading Neoclassicism in the Interwar Period, part 1

Rachmaninoff’s Cinematic Romanticism

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) is not only one of my personal favorite composers but also a general favorite of audiences worldwide. Rachmaninoff’s unique place in history, at the culmination of the Romantic period and the dawn of the 20th century, gave him a choice: would he continue in the Romantic tradition, already expounded by his forbearers, … Continue reading Rachmaninoff’s Cinematic Romanticism

The Romantic Era in France, part 1

I must admit I have been looking forward to these next few entries for several weeks. Some of my all-time favorite music comes from Romantic-era France. Many music scholars paint a grey but significant line between “German-Style” and “French-Style” music as general categories. Even music from other countries such as Spain, Italy, the Scandinavian countries … Continue reading The Romantic Era in France, part 1

Italian Opera in the Romantic Period

Italy has a unique personality during the mid-and late Romantic period in that its compositional output is strongly associated with one particular genre: opera. Although other genres were present in Italy too, I associate Romantic-era Italy with Rossini, Verdi and Puccini. All of these composers are associated almost exclusively with opera, and they are responsible … Continue reading Italian Opera in the Romantic Period