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The Listening Composer

by

The Listening Composer Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

George Perle takes us into the composer's workshop as he reevaluates what we call "twentieth-century music"—a term used to refer to new or modern or contemporary music that represents a radical break from the tonal tradition, or "common practice," of the preceding three centuries. He proposes that this music, in the course of breaking with the tonal tradition, presents coherent and definable elements of a new tradition. In spite of the disparity in their styles, idioms, and compositional methods, he argues, what unites Scriabin, Stravinsky, Bartók, and the Viennese circle (Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern) is more important than what separates them.

If we are to understand the connections among these mainstream composers, we also have to understand their connections with the past. Through an extraordinarily comprehensive analysis of a single piece by Varèse, Density 21.5 for unaccompanied flute, Perle shows how these composers refer not only to their contemporaries but also to Wagner, Debussy, and Beethoven.

Perle isolates the years 1909-10 as the moment of revolutionary transformation in the foundational premises of our musical language. He asks: What are the implications of this revolution, not only for the composer, but also for the listener? What are the consequences for the theory and teaching of music today? In his highly original answers, Perle relates the role of intuition in the listening experience to its role in the compositional process.

Perle asserts that the post-Schoenbergian serialists have preoccupied themselves with secondary and superficial aspects of Schoenberg's twelve-tone method that have led it to a dead end but he also exposes the speciousness of current alternatives such as chance music, minimalism, and the so-called return to tonality. He offers a new and more comprehensive definition of "twelve-tone music" and firmly rejects the notion that accessibility to the new music is reserved for a special class of elite listeners.

Synopsis:

The present volume consists of a series of six public lectures I delivered as Visiting Ernest Bloch Professor of Music at the University of California at Berkeley during the Spring 1989 semester, and of additional material on some of the same topics presented in a concurrent seminar.

About the Author

George Perle is one of this country's most respected composers and critics, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in music and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. His writings on twentieth-century music include the now-standard text Serial Composition and Atonality, Twelve-Tone Tonality, and The Operas of Alban Berg, all available from the University of California Press.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520205185
Author:
Perle, George
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
History & Criticism - By Composer
Subject:
Composition
Subject:
Composition (music)
Subject:
Individual Composer & Musician
Subject:
Composers & Musicians
Subject:
Music-Individual Composer and Musician
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Ernest Bloch Lectures
Series Volume:
7
Publication Date:
19961231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
202
Dimensions:
9.18x6.09x.63 in. .73 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Individual Composer and Musician
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Instruction and Study » Music Appreciation
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History and Social Science » Politics » General

The Listening Composer New Trade Paper
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Product details 202 pages University of California Press - English 9780520205185 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The present volume consists of a series of six public lectures I delivered as Visiting Ernest Bloch Professor of Music at the University of California at Berkeley during the Spring 1989 semester, and of additional material on some of the same topics presented in a concurrent seminar.
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