Classical Composers & the Impact Term Paper

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. . which fascinates by the mass of its beauties" (Goulding, 1995, 256). Much like Wagner, Tchaikovsky was influenced by several love affairs, first with Desiree Artot, an opera singer who deserted him to marry someone else and Nadezhda von Meck, a patroness of the arts. Thus, the relationship with Ms. Von Meck provided the stimulation Tchaikovsky needed for the completion of Romeo and Juliet; she also was obviously his Juliet, a woman from a contrasting family (she provided him with much financial support) and someone that was out of reach for a simple composer.

Claude Debussy:

The piece known as Clouds is part of Debussy's Three Nocturnes for orchestra and as described by Debussy himself, Clouds represents "the unchanging aspect of the sky, and the slow, solemn movement of the clouds, dissolving into gray tints, lightly touched with white" (Goulding, 1995, 315). All of this is symbolized by the atmospheric nature of the English horn, a solo viola and a melody for flute and harp. Of course, Debussy is often referred to as the "Father of musical Impressionism," meaning that he took his influences from the Impressionist painters and the Symbolist poets. Obviously, Debussy must have studied in great depth some of the master works by Cezanne, Manet or Renoir in order to transpose the images he saw into musical expression. Thus, Debussy took what he saw in reality and transferred it to the page with the assistance of horns, violas and flutes which replaced the colors and tints of the canvas.

Igor Stravinsky:

After the death of Bela Bartok in 1945, Igor Stravinsky was catapulted to being the greatest living composer, due in part to his magnificent and highly controversial ballet the Rite of Spring (1912). The fame that Stravinsky acquired with the Rite of Spring allowed him to live as a professional composer, one who could play and conduct his own music. This success reflected his upbringing, for his father had been an outstanding bass singer at major opera houses in St. Petersburg.
Later in life, Stravinsky stated that his upbringing in a musical house "left an indelible impression. . . perhaps the greatest thrill of my life" (Goulding, 1995, 278) which surely indicates that after the success of the Rite of Spring he could equate himself as a great musician just like his father.

Bela Bartok:

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta represented the pinnacle of success for Bela Bartok, for it contributed greatly to the solidarity within world musical culture and helped to bridge the gap between old styles and new styles, between the arts and sciences and especially between one religion and another. Raised as a Catholic, Bartok wrote this piece of music under great stress, for in 1937, the Nazis were beginning their intrusion into Hungary which forced Bartok to flee his native country. Thus, through this piece of music, one can come to understand why Bartok inserted specific religious references into it as a way of expressing his anger and discontent with Nazism and the general political atmosphere of Europe before World War II.

George Crumb:

Night of the Electric Insects is the first movement in an electric string quartet known as the Black Angels, a kind of "parable for our troubled contemporary world" (Goulding, 1995, 315). Some musical scholars have pointed out that this work reflects Crumb's interest in the polarity between good and evil, between God and the Devil, due to the Devil being the "Fallen Angel" or the "Black Angle." However, others see this work as a symbolic gesture for the Vietnam War, meaning that the insects in the jungles of Vietnam sounded at times like swarms of electricity, due to being concentrated in the millions. Thus, Night of the Electric Insects reflects Crumb's displeasure with the world of the 1970's as it relates to the war in Vietnam and the general political instability of many countries during this time. Although Crumb never served in Vietnam,….....

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