At the dawn of the 20th century, not a stone was left standing. Upheavals in society and politics, in the sciences, and in every day life confronted humankind with a multitude of unprecedented challenges within the space of just a few years. But on one thing, most people could agree: in the arts, if nowhere else, everything was to remain as it was. Precisely music and painting, however, were the mustering grounds of out-and-out revolutions during that period, and audience reactions were commensurate—running all the way to indignation, despair, and rage expressed at the era’s scandalous concerts and exhibitions of “degenerate” music and art.
To this day, the ways in which innovation in music is dealt with are complex. And for this reason, our Special section in this issue is devoted to contemporary music. Or as it is also known: new music, music of the present, avant-garde music, music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Terms that don’t always make it immediately clear to everyone just what it’s all about … which would be: music that calls the accustomed into question, breaks with compositional traditions and thus also with listening traditions, establishes new stylistic devices and playing techniques, and leaves old traditions behind or places them in new contexts. Music that can baffle, surprise, repulse, enthral…
Take it all in with us on the following pages!
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