Early 20th Century Music

In: Film and Music

Submitted By JackPugh
Words 1542
Pages 7
Uncovering Mahler, Schoenberg & Debussy In this essay I will talk about three composers who individually had their own take on music and have significantly aided the progression of music composition in the twentieth-century. These three composers are Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg and Claude Debussy. I will assess their compositional styles by investigating in to some of the structures they used and the meaning and thinking behind their movements and symphonies.

Gustav Mahler (July, 1860) was a late-Romantic composer and was a huge influence on modern music both with his music and his conducting. One piece of music that he is forever recognised by is his Song of the Earth (Das Lied von der Erde) composed in 1907-1908. This was first performed later on, unfortunately not conducted by Mahler himself as it was performed after his death. It was a huge piece of work written for two soloists, which was very rarely done, and an almighty orchestra. This would have been his ninth symphony but ‘Mahler refused to call it No.9 out of superstitions dread: Beethoven and Bruckner had got no further than nine, and he half seriously hoped to cheat death by stopping his numbering at eight’. (Cooke 1980, p.104) However others say this isn't the whole truth and that it wasn't named No.9 because this song meant a lot more to him. The song was separated into six separate movements, each of these became their own individual song. However it is the first movement - Drinking song of the Earths Wretchedness, I will be analysing.

Throughout Mahler’s song of the earth there was completely full of a range of colour and different moods and emotions. In his first movement, Drinking song of the Earths Wretchedness, it started off with such a great display and sense of alcoholic bravado as it begins with this fanfare and bleak, harsh, garish woodwind sounds. The tenor then enters in…...

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