Germany Music Part 11

Germany Music Part 11

These revolutionaries were driven by the principle of “progress” and definitive goals to be achieved, to inaugurate the era of true art. Apart from these theories, we must note that, in addition to the minors, in the work of the great Neudeutschen: Liszt, A. Bruckner, H. Wolf, R. Strauss (not to mention Wagner now), precious musical values ​​appear: at Liszt the amplification of the realm of harmony in a fiery chromatism, the heady rush of rhythms and of golden sonority, the formal freedom and the evocative force of symphonic poems (genre from Liszt developed in the footsteps of Berlioz) and finally the complete revolution of piano technique and composition; at A. Bruckner – considered among the greatest in Germany – the breadth and originality of the symphonic conception (trithematic, often based on fugati and choral), the richness of chords of his lyricism, which goes from moving, profound meditation to the naive joy of country dance. As already mentioned, so in spirit (programmatic and philosophical intentions, regenerative function of music, etc.) as in technique (extensions of forms, writing, harmony, orchestration, etc.) these symphonists are more or less closely related to the dominating figure of Wagner. In fact, the work of the great playwright had not only theatrical values, but also of philosophical thought, and finally technical-musical values ​​of extreme importance, so that his influence was exerted on the entire complex of the intellectual life of his time, in Germany and somewhere else.

The fundamental criteria of the Wagnerian Musik – drama, as exposed in the master’s theoretical works, often recall those of the Camerata Fiorentina and Gluck: a subordinate function of music with respect to the poetry that aroused it (and that shapes it into new forms, dramatic nature, by virtue of conductive reasons); adherence of Melos to the inflections of the German speech (SprachMelodie); the orchestra’s explanatory task – with respect to the intimate feeling and thinking of the characters in the drama – in a sort of continuous, immense, formally free symphony. The consequence of the necessary unity of the poet and the musician arises from the first of these principles; unity that found its greatest historical achievement in the author of Tristan, of the Master Singers and of Parsifal. In the history of musical technique it represents especially the apogee of tonal chromatism (Tristan) and the modern resumption of “horizontal” writing, that is, coherently contrapuntal (Maestri cantori).

The Wagnerian legacy is collected, to continue the movement of Liszt and Bruckner, by many composers, including H. Wolf with his Lieder, R. Strauss with his theatrical and symphonic works, H. Pfitzner with the musical drama Palestrina and with powerful orchestral and choral works.

At H. Wolf we find a refined and nervous writing, in whose intense chromatism, in whose strict declamation property the artist reaches an expressiveness that adheres, like few others, to the sense of poetry. At R. Strauss, the ruler of post-Wagnerian Germany, every element of the art of composition reaches extreme exploitation in works aimed at the grandeur of forms and effects. The style is freed very quickly from Wagner (although all his daring represents only the extreme consequence of the Wagnerian premises) and becomes recognizable and personal – despite his ever growing eclecticism – to the point of imposing its own imprint in its turn. part of the world of contemporary composers. The chromatism, exasperated by now (Salome,), often borders on overlapping shades; the counterpoint becomes complicated as in an immense game; the orchestra finally draws on a virtuosity never seen before that can obtain the most powerful sound effects without giving up a nervous, brilliant lightness (ZarathustraTill Eulenspiegel, etc.).

The art of H. Pfitzner is linked, in the theater, to that of Wagner; whose principles he applies and suffers the stylistic influence in the mighty Palestrina (which for ethical values ​​can be considered the highest work that appeared after Parsifal); while in his symphonic and chamber production (cantatas, concerts, Lieder) he shows himself as the closest continuer of the romantic tradition that goes from Weber to Schumann.

According to, the most important composers of this period are, together with the aforementioned, the Wagnerian E. Humperdinck, author of successful theatrical fairy tales; Gustav Mahler, famous author of symphonies of intentions and titanic masses but who, due to their composite style and frequent banality of ideas, allow a certain doubt about their actual value (he improves his Lieder with orchestra); Max Reger, very strong counterpoint, author of instrumental and Lieder music in which the Bach background is sometimes oppressed by heavy neo-baroque structures; M. Schillings, F. Schreker, S. Wagner, all authors of plays as well as instrumental music. Ferruccio Busoni with his Doktor Faust also had great importance in German theater, both for the depth of thought and for the original conception of musical drama.. In the work of today’s young generation we find that, after a period of excessive hermeticism, represented by the tenacious and refined intelligence and morbid sensitivity of Arnold Schönberg with his difficult polyphonies, we begin to understand the need to leave the cenacle towards greater simplicity. of spirit. At the head of this new movement, which for its hatred of the psychological analyzes of so-called expressionism takes the name of Neue Sachlichkeit and prefers to be inspired by Bach rather than Beethoven, is Paul Hindemith.

Germany Music 11

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