Remaking The Past: Tradition And Influence In Twentieth-Century Music
From Library Journal
Straus (music theory, Queens Coll.) has written a provocative book that offers a radically new interpretation of the artistic goals and achievements of several major composers of the early 20th century. Straus's ideas are based largely on controversial literary critic Harold Bloom's concept of "misreading"--not a failed reading, but one in which a poet asserts his or her artistic voice by confronting, struggling with, and ultimately overcoming the influence of a predecessor. Straus shifts the battleground to music, and using principles of pitch-class analysis derived from Allen Forte shows how Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern grappled with the legacy of their (mostly) Germanic forebears. In the process he has wasted much analytical ink on some very minor works, and the Fortean emphasis on pitch relationships may also exasperate readers used to a more inclusive approach. Still, the book is an exciting and thought-provoking addition to the literature on 20th-century music. --Larry Lipkis, UCLA
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