The meaning of the modern music

I have been wondering what has brought the modern classical music in the world. I mean the music of atonality. They say one reason was the will to get out of the heavy romanticism which has covered the world of music since the end of 19th century. I could understand the composers in that age have felt almost suffocated with the expanded emotions in the late romanticism in music. The modern music composers might need to get into the atonality as a new achievement in music. It could be a drive which has lead composers to new style of music in their age.

In addition to all of those motivations, I guess, it was the expression of the era trend of thoughts those days. It was just before they got into the era of total war. They have had to endure the pain and agony of total war twice very soon. As artists sensitive to the trend those days, they must have felt that era preceding to the other people. In late romantic music, there used to be such a composer who had preempted that trend of anxiety and fear for the death. One example was Mahler. But such attempt by late romantic composers has not succeeded in it and was followed by the modern music composers, who have done thoroughly, if it was successful or not.

This quartet by Schoenberg is deemed the watershed dividing those two eras. Each motifs sound very beautiful with faint feeling of tonality. When the soprano enters in the music, the atonality dominates it. It may express the anxiety of existence in the era trend. It appeals to our mind even after over a century since it has been composed.

1 comment:

  1. After writing this article, I searched the text of the poem the soprano sung in last two movements. It is the poem by Stefan Georg. It surprises me a lot. It is a prophecy of the events going on after this composition. Massacre in the two total wars. Genocide of jewish people by Nazis. Of course, it might be related with Schoenberg's personal tragedy that his wife had left his family during the time he composed this piece. But i could not help feeling that he had foresaw the upcoming tragedy in the world while he composed this piece. A really touching music. I am sure this will be left to the next generation in the history.