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Two Centuries in One (2014)

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« on: August 06, 2022, 12:33:40 pm »

Two Centuries in One (2014)
Musical Romanticism and the Twentieth Century

by Herbert Pauls

An outstanding feature of twentieth-century music has been the divergence of European "art" music into two general areas which do not overlap to the same extent that they do in previous centuries. That is, the performing repertoire is at odds, sometimes dramatically so, with a competing canon of works considered to be of greater importance from an evolutionary historical point of view. The practical result has been what one commentator recently called "two centuries in one."

Few composers were considered more untimely than those who persisted in using the "old" tonal and romantic-sounding idioms. However, the best of them contributed many core works to the daily repertoire, and we have now arrived at the point where minor twentieth-century romantics are also proving to be of strong interest, particularly for discerning connoisseurs. Of comparable significance, the once-common progress narrative of musical evolution, which hindered the academic reception of twentieth-century romantic music for so long, has been almost completely abandoned today. We have also reached the point where some of the major romantic figures have been recast as modern or even modernist.


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