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Twentieth-Century Composers: Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg Essay


Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)

Claude Debussy has earned the “impressionist” composer idiom for his exemplary mood evoking compositions based on tentative integration of harmonization and color tones in his styles. As opposed to romanticism with emotional ting and programmatic composition, Debussy embraced symbolist poets’ and impressionist painters’ composition styles in drawing his works. Such symbolism and impressions in his productions were aimed at creating exciting ambience and did expose him to new approaches of fine-tuning timbres and scales.

Debussy’s pioneering works in his treatment of the orchestra and use of harmony laid the foundation for the then upcoming composers like Alban Berg. Some of the major pieces of representative works done by Claude Debussy include Cinq poemes de Baudelaire, Fantaisie, La demoiselle elue, Prelude a Lapres-midi dun faune among others. Debussy’s other significant orchestral productions include Nocturnes, Revue blanche, and La mer.

Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)

Igor Stravinsky’s composition excels most of his contemporary composers to the extent that his flavor and style has revolutionized the universal manner in which the world listens to music. Stravinsky’s master piece compositions range from the then conventional classicism through neo-classicism to atonalism, forming a stage for the integration of his harmonics and rhythmic innovations in the universal music system. Stravinsky’s exemplary performance in revolutionizing the music industry of his day can be attributed to his consistency in maintaining a strong profile through his exposition of the underlying beauty of real classical music.

Stravinsky’s music composition style contravened the standard structure of melody, harmony and canons in that his on-set presentations were extremely dissonant that the audience would be revolted by the sound yet at the same time they were drawn by the inherent genius of his production. Although such an innovation shattered the imagination of many, it did reveal the originality and authenticity of music composition. Claude Debussy most greatly thrilled by Stravinsky’s ingenuity and gave him the right hand of partnership in creating an open platform of being heard.

Stravinsky’s music was so devastating original that it astounded the audience and awed his colleague composers. His trio of ballet is the highest praised piece of aesthetic work of any group today, characterizing the uniqueness of his unforgettable music. Although harsh dissonance is evident in most of his compositions, a colorful classic harmony bids the whole production creating a serene and beautiful mood.

Alban Berg (1885 – 1935)

Alban Berg compositions were mostly romantic, with some of his representative works being the atonal and 12- tone, orchestral music, chamber music, songs, and operas. Fastidious and perfectionist outlook characterized Berg’s compositions the better part of which was triggered by momentous inspiration, and thus Berg’s works were limited to his intrinsic drives.

Although Berg’s powerful and complex compositions harness a broad spectrum of musical resources, the success thereof is primarily depended on a few universal strategies; the integration of powerful chromatic expressionism, which partially contravenes, yet fulfils the conventional boundaries of tonality, the amendment to classical musical presentation to the inclusion of the atonal component, and a skillful structuring of the atonal compositions using the 12-tone strategy.

One such an integral part of Berg’s theatrical works in the atonal idiom is the Wozzeck, which created a platform of addressing social challenges through an opera, characterized by extensive use of symbolic and metaphorical literary devices.

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IvyPanda. "Twentieth-Century Composers: Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/twentieth-century-composers/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Twentieth-Century Composers: Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/twentieth-century-composers/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Twentieth-Century Composers: Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg'. 12 August.

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