Chapter 31: Interwar Currents: The

I. A. Introduction 1. During the first of the twentieth century, the some of the most notable changes in were in . 2. became such an important style that the 1920s are called the “.” 3. The dissemination of popular music through electronic means was a chief spur in the growth of popular styles. 4. A largely improvised idiom, jazz’s origins came be found in several places: , the , and the call-and-response techniques associated with African American music.

B. European “Jazz”: Parisians in America 1. American jazz was also popular in , particularly France. 2. Milhaud traveled to to hear jazz, and his La Création de monde uses a jazz band scoring. 3. Ravel’s Sonata also includes aspects of jazz in its harmony, blues notes, and .

C. In Search of the “Real” America: Americans in 1. During the 1920s, American composers sought to define an American style in . 2. Copland traveled to Paris to study and spent time under the tutelage of . 3. Copland was drawn to jazz after hearing a performance in Vienna in 1923. 4. Copland eventually turned from specific associations with popular music.

D. and Musicals 1. Gershwin’s early life resembled Copland’s in several ways: both from Brooklyn, Jewish parents who had immigrated, study with Goldmark, musical careers that began in their teens. 2. Gershwin found work in his teens as a song-plugger and naturally began writing songs himself. 3. The songs played by song-pluggers belong to Tin Pan Alley, named for an area of music publishing in New York that sprang up in the 1890s. 4. He moved to writing for Broadway soon afterward. Gershwin’s first big hit was Swanee, made popular by ’s 1920 recording. 5. Rodgers and Hammerstein were a successful duo who wrote Broadway musicals beginning with Oklahoma! in 1942 and continuing to The Sound of Music in 1959.

E. Gershwin’s “Experiment in Modern Music” 1. In 1924 , a popular bandleader, requested that Gershwin compose a work for and orchestra, and suggested the term “rhapsody.” The result was . a. The program touted that the Rhapsody in Blue was an “Experiment in Modern Music” in that it blended “discordant jazz” and the “really melodious music of today.”

b. Rhapsody incorporates five Tin Pan Alley–type tunes with virtuoso passages for the soloist. 2. In 1933 he agreed to write an opera, , called an “American folk opera.” 3. Gershwin’s fusion of jazz and classical music was successful and appreciated, whereas that of Copland was not. 4. also sought to blend the two, but from the perspective of an African American jazz composer approaching classical music. 5. In the early he announced that he was writing a piece that would “portray the experiences of the coloured races in America in the syncopated idiom.”

II. A. Surrealism: Satie’s Parade 1. American music grew in popularity throughout the 1920s and ’30s. 2. The divide between high and low music grew as well. 3. In 1917, the Ballet Russes performed Parade by Satie (and Cocteau). a. The work deliberately brings the theater experience to a lower level than audience members expected, as it is akin to a sideshow at a theater and features carnival performers. 4. Satie and Cocteau avoided any conventional attempts to astonish or impress, but rather celebrated normalcy. a. Realism (and antirealism) and tribute to the industry are aspects of Parade. b. Even though the score includes “ordinary” sounds, their use in such a work is far from ordinary. 5. Apollinaire noted the “clarity and simplicity” of Parade that elevated French music above German. a. He coined the term “surrealism” to describe this realistic work.

B. New Fashions: Les Six 1. A new group of composers who followed Satie were known as Les Six: Poulenc, Milhaud, Auric, Honegger, Tailleferre, and Durey. 2. Satie conceived of musique d’ameublement (furniture music), which is background music—not meant to be listened to. 3. American popular music figured prominently in their aims.

C. From Subject to Style: Surrealist “Classicism” 1. During World War II, Poulenc turned away from surrealism to more religious subject matter, but returned to it in 1944. 2. Milhaud’s surrealism relates to his theory of —a collage of keys. a. Taken apart, the elements are ordinary. It is in the placing together that the surrealism is present.

D. American Surrealism 1. represents surrealism in America. a. He too studied in Paris and was part of the “.” 2. , also a member of their circle, was interested in “stream of consciousness,” which is governed by free association.

3. Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts is representative. 4. Like Stein, Thomson was interested in the interplay of sound and meaning.

III. Opera A. Music in the 1. Germans struggled with identity after . There were several different responses, including that of Schoenberg and twelve-tone technique. 2. Another alternative was , a foil to the Romantic make-believe. 3. Zeitoper represents an interest in popular, relevant, and communicative art. 4. A related idea to Zeitoper is Gebrauchmusik—music for use. 5. The main proponent of this was Hindemith.

B. Berg’s Wozzeck 1. Because they were timely, the operas discussed earlier fell out of the repertory as time moved on. 2. Berg’s Wozzeck has had the best staying power of the German operas from the 1920s. 3. Wozzeck combines elements of and with ideas from the 1920s: post-war disillusionment, irony, political critique, archaic musical forms, and . 4. Atonal and disturbing, the work was nonetheless an international success. 5. The orchestral writing is colorful and inventive and includes prominent leitmotifs. 6. Some of the popular idioms used include folk songs, marches, and waltzes. 7. Berg also draws on instrumental genres and forms, such as pavane, gavotte, etc., but they do not necessarily fit classic definitions. 8. As in the Lyric Suite, hidden devices carry personal meanings in the opera. 9. Atonal music is a representational device for physical or psychological abnormality.

C. Music for Political Action 1. Some composers felt that music should provide social commentary, not just satiric fun (as in Hindemith and Krenek or the French). 2. ’s Zeitopers did just that and were compared favorably to Wozzeck. 3. Weill collaborated with . a. Brecht sought to do away with conventional theater’s attempts to portray “real” actions. b. Brecht’s new ideas about theater were part of a political agenda, as was Weill’s music. 4. Weill noted that music achieves its value when it interrupts the action at the right moments, positioning itself as regards the action and influencing the listener’s response. 5. The most famous Weill/Brecht collaboration was The Threepenny Opera (1928). a. They modeled it on Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. b. Instead of operatic singers, the cast included cabaret singers and dramatic actors. 6. Like Wozzeck, The Threepenny Opera is a commentary on how society deals with the poor.

D. From Vienna to Hollywood: The Death of Opera?

1. The operas discussed here caused much discussion during the 1920s and 1930s. They were some of the last truly popular operas. 2. The support for such operas dried up when the Nazis came to power. 3. The of 1929 and the ensuing economic slump also affected the viability of opera houses. 4. Another factor was , especially those with singing. 5. Erich Korngold was one of the earliest to adapt classical music to the screen. 6. The outbreak of war in 1938 caused Korngold to remain in America. 7. Max Steiner, another European immigrant, also turned to filmscoring, using a special technique of leitmotivs underneath the score (“underscoring”).