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Reflections of an American Composer$
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Arthur Berger

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520232518

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520232518.001.0001

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Rapprochement or Friendly Takeover?

Rapprochement or Friendly Takeover?

(p.93) 7 Rapprochement or Friendly Takeover?
Reflections of an American Composer

Arthur Berger

University of California Press

The chapter elucidates the friendly takeover of the world of contemporary composition by the serialists. In the 1950s the two leading camps in the world of contemporary composition, the followers of Arnold Schoenberg and those of Igor Stravinsky, who had inhabited opposite sides of the barricades for well nigh half a century, finally made peace. The eventuality was sometimes referred to as a “rapprochement,” but for some composers, Stravinsky among them, it was actually more like a friendly takeover on the part of the serialists. The music of Schoenberg, Berg, and Anton Webern in the 1920s was considered extremely iconoclastic at that time but the composers now appear to have used musical form. In addition, classicism was quite superficial and the music that flowed from Schoenberg's pen was essentially modern. For Nabokov serialism had the “earmarks of a Messianic cult,” and far from being innovative it was the last stage in a harmonic development that could be traced back to 1600, whereas Stravinsky, on the other hand, had proclaimed a new domain that would start a new cycle—the domain of rhythm.

Keywords:   friendly takeover, American composers, rapprochement, Stravinsky, contemporary composition, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg

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