As its title suggests, this book paints in broad strokes the evolution of music in the twentieth century by giving an overall vision for the general public, too often lacking in the field of information and benchmarks .
From the beginnings of the modern era marked by the compositions of Mahler and Debussy, this brief history traces the different directions taken by the music of our time, while emphasizing the works that have made history as well as the major aesthetic turning points. : the new rhythmic force born with the Rite of Spring , the unlimited universe of Schönberg's atonality, the numerous possibilities opened up by electronics, the role of chance at John Cage.
The accent was naturally placed on the composers whose influence was greatest. In addition to those already mentioned, the works of Alban Berg and Anton von Webern, Charles Ives, Edgar Varèse and Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez are reviewed.
Without being technical, this musical panorama of our century explains how and why the music evolved as it did.
Paul Griffiths, born in 1947, is a specialist in contemporary music. Musical critic at the Times, he is the author of books on Bartók, Messiaen and Pierre Boulez.