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Realism and Impressionism


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Title: Realism and Impressionism

Realism and Impressionism
  • The Beginnings of Modernism

  • As the 19th century wears on, the pace quickens.
  • and flux increase as Europes population leaves
    in droves
  • for other corners of the globe. Business and
  • continue their technological and industrial
    revolution and
  • industrial revolution, and individual workers
    strive for
  • greater rights and rewards. Nationalism rises,
    and science
  • explodes. Philosophy and psychology take fire and
    influence the arts, where reactions against
    Romanticism turn particularly modernist.

  • During the 18th and 19th centuries 70 million
    people emigrated from Europe
  • to other continents, mostly North America, but
    also Siberia, Latin America
  • and Australia. By 1900 the total European
    population outside Europe
  • numbered approximately 560 million and
    represented more than 1/3 of the
  • worlds entire population. Not all countries
    participated in this migration
  • equally. France, which had adopted birth control
    practices, barely
  • reproduced at replacement level, but the
    declining death rate, which
  • resulted from better medicine and other factors,
    allowed Frances population
  • to grow. Nevertheless, it contributed very little
    to the emigration movement.
  • The populations of most other European countries,
    on the other hand,
  • exploded and lead to migration on a massive
    scale. In the mid 19th century,
  • Ireland was contributing nearly half of the
    immigrants to the United States,
  • and in 4 consecutive waves (1850, 1870, 1885,
    1910) 13 million Scots left
  • their native lands with 2/3 of them coming to the
    U.S. 6 million Germans left
  • (most for the U.S.) and 2 million Scandinavians
    did the same. 16 million
  • Italians left Italy in 1913 alone. Central and
    Eastern Europeans contributed
  • more than 9 million people to the waves of
    emigration. By the end of the 19th
  • century, Europeans had literally populated the

Business and Industry
  • During the 19th century, industrial civilization
    changed from a
  • system of production based on coal and iron to
    one based on the
  • technology of electricity, internal combustion
    engine, and the
  • chemistry of synthetic materials. The turning
    point came in the
  • 1890s when technological development boomed.
  • An overview of industrial and technological
    development can be
  • broken into 3 periods
  • 1. Began in Britain in the late 18th century and
    by the first half of the 19th century had moved
    to France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the U.S.
    However, with the exception of the U.S., the
    industrial explosion in these countries had
    slowed after the 1860s. The U.S. share of the
    world industrial output had climbed from 23 to 36

Business and Industry
  • 2. Occurred between 1840-1873 and witnessed the
    first real world boom in railway construction and
    widespread industrialization of the remainder of
    Europe, particularly Germany, where a great
    economic transformation took Germany to a
    position as the worlds 2nd largest industrial
    producer by the end of the century.
  • 3. Came at the end of the 19th century and
    encompassed Russia, the Scandinavian countries,
    Italy, parts of Eastern Europe, and Japan. By
    1913, Europe and North America represented 82 of
    the worlds industrial production.

Business and Industry
  • The world began to see huge corporations with
    multi-functional hierarchical structures. Some
    companies retained a family structure, but others
    moved toward a managerial model, with
    decision-making placed in the hands of salaried
    executives, and at the same time, the concept of
    marketing networks created more and more mergers
    and larger and larger corporations. In addition,
    the marketplace experienced a dynamic increase in
    new business centered on new products that
    emerged from new technologies---for example,
    automobiles, bicycles, the cinema, and later,

Workers and Socialism
  • Among the major results of industrialization were
  • the growth of the working class, the development
  • of its organizational forms and its links to
  • elements in society who were unwilling to
  • with the bourgeois society. The organization of
  • working class came in three spurts
  • 1. From 18641893, witnessed powerful popular
    movements and mass strikes. During this time, the
    International Working Mens Association (IWMA)
    and the socialist International were formed.

Workers and Socialism
  • 2. Occurred between 1893-1905. saw the rise of
    trade unions and the emergence of nation-states
    of political parties.
  • 3. Occurred from 1905 until the beginning of
    W.W.I included a general expansion of labor and
    socialist movements.
  • The IWMA was founded in London in 1864 and drew
  • support across Europe. It was originally
    intended to be a
  • worldwide workers party through which workers
    could have a
  • sense of solidarity in struggles to improve
    their conditions.
  • The movement split in 1869 with the followers of
    Karl Marx
  • going one direction and the others, known as the
  • authoritarian faction going in another. Within
    20 years, the
  • movement had splintered into nation groups so
    that different
  • forms of action and militancy could not develop
    according to a
  • single model. The movement polarized around 2
  • unions and political parties.

Workers and Socialism
  • The organization of the second International
    in1889-1891 (a
  • loose federation of organizations) was socialist
    in nature.
  • According to its agenda, an individual had to
    work for the
  • collective ownership of the means of production
    and to
  • recognize the need for political and
    parliamentary actions.
  • Strikes became their weapon, but by the beginning
    of the 19th
  • century, the labor movement in Europe proved
  • impotent in the face of rising nationalism and
    imperialism, its
  • center being the German Reich.

The German Reich
  • Unlike the rest of Europe, Germany remained a
    series of independent states
  • under individual rule. On January 18, 1871, 25
    German states, including 3
  • city-states, joined together to create a unified
    German Reich with William I,
  • King of Prussia, as Kaiser. It was an
    authoritarian state whose government
  • was not responsible to the parliament. It held a
    conservative business class
  • and domination of the civil service by a powerful
    military. Bismarck, the
  • prime minister of the Reich, was a Prussian and
    he began a Kulturkampf
  • (campaign for secularization) which attacked
    Catholics, expelled the Jesuits
  • and placed controls on the Roman clergy. However,
    because such a
  • campaign also alarmed the protestants, it did not
    succeed. After 2
  • assassination attempts on the Kaiser, Bismarck
    instituted anti-socialist laws.
  • Despite the crash of the Viennese stock market,
    German industrial growth
  • continued and heavy industry became more
    concentrated. The country
  • became more urban and population grew.
    Agriculture was modernized and
  • Germany, practicing a form of capitalism, became
    the 2nd most powerful
  • nation on earth.

The German Reich
  • Bismarcks foreign policy sought to consolidate
  • position in Europe by forging a set of
    contradictory treaties. By
  • 1882, the Triple Alliance among Germany,
    Austria-Hungary and
  • Italy was formed. In 1888, Kaiser William II
    began his search for
  • Germanys place in the sun however, socialist
  • increased and in 1912, the Social Democratic
    Party (SPD)
  • became the largest group in the Reichstag. Its
    major objectives
  • included universal suffrage in those areas of
    Germany where 3
  • classes (aristocracy, bourgeoisie and workers)
    still existed. They
  • used demonstrations and strikes to accomplish
    this. This demand
  • proved to be an important point in the SPDs
    acceptance of
  • Germanys entrance into WWI. The Great War was
    expected to
  • last for 3 or 4 months and be over by Christmas.
    It wasnt.

Scientific Explosion
  • A lot happened in science in the last quarter of
  • 19th century and the first decade of the 20th
  • century.
  • Model of an atom was built describing the
    movements of electrons within an atom and this
    allowed for remarkable results in spectroscopy of
    gaseous matter and X-ray physics
  • Discovery of X-rays
  • Discovery of superconductivity
  • Science of genetics formed
  • Bacteriology was begun

Philosophy and Psychology
  • Friedrich NietzscheGerman philosopher
  • whose ideas attacked religion and women
  • Sigmund Freud---(Austrian) developed
  • psychoanalysis---the probing of the human
    unconscious---in the world of dreams

  • Does not glorify the past.
  • Seeks the truth.
  • Finds beauty in the commonplace.
  • Focuses on the conditions of the working class.
  • Represented everyday scenes the way they really
  • Artists to know Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet
    and Rosa Bonheur

Visual Arts
  • The style referred to as realism ran through the
    1840s, 1850s and 1860s and its central figure
    was Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) Courbet was
    influenced by Corot in the way he played with
    light on surfaces, however, unlike Corot, his aim
    was to make an objective and unprejudiced record
    of the customs, ideas and appearances of French
    society. The Stone Breakers was the first
    painting to display his philosophy to the
  • A social realist, Courbet was more intent on a
    social message than on the reaction of his
    viewers. Therefore, his work is less dramatic and
    nostalgic than that of others.

Gustave Courbet
The Stone Breakers Courbet painted two men as he
had seen them working beside a road. The work is
life size and while it seems objective, it makes
a sharp comment on the tedium and laborious
nature of the task.
  • Burial at Ornans
  • In this painting, Courbet was criticized for
    showing a lack of reverence and respect. Both
    works (this one
  • and The Stone Breakers) depart radically from the
    more-controlled, idealized pictures of both the
  • Neoclassical and the Romantic schools of thought
    they portray the life and emotions not of
    aristocrats but
  • of humble peasants, and they do so with a
    realistic urgency. Such images of everyday life,
    characterized by a
  • powerful naturalism and boldly portrayed, cast
    him as a revolutionary socialist. A friend of
    many writers
  • and philosophers of his day, he became the leader
    of the new school of Realism, which in time
  • over other contemporary movements. His audacity
    and disrespect for authority was notorious. In
    1865 his
  • series depicting storms at sea astounded the art
    world and opened the way for Impressionism.

  • The Grain Sifters
  • Courbet painted normal people on a monumental
    scale that had previously been reserved for
    heroic or Biblical figures
  • He was also criticized for using his friends as

The Stormy Sea or The Wave
Jean-Francois Millet
  • Millet was one of a group of painters called the
  • School, which focused upon a realistic-romantic
    vision of
  • landscape and typically used peasants as its
    subject matter.
  • The Barbizon did not support socialism, but it
    did applaud
  • the honest, simple life and work on the land as
  • to the bourgeois life. In Millets Woman Baking
    Bread, these
  • themes are apparent and the peasant emerges as a
  • figure. The vantage point plays a part here since
    we see the
  • peasant women from slightly below giving her an
  • height and dominance to emphasize her grandeur.

  • Woman Baking Bread

  • The Gleaners

Edouard Manet (1832-83)
  • Manet was more concerned with HOW to paint,
    instead of WHAT to paint. He strove to paint
    only what the eye can see.
  • Manet is responsible for bridging the gap between
    Realism and Impressionism
  • Sometimes he used models, but dressed them
    appropriately and let them pose naturally.
    Manets painting, Dejeuner sur lherbe, shocked
    the public when it was first shown at the Salon
    des Refuses in 1863. In this county setting, we
    see people that are real and identifiable
    (Manets model, his brother and the sculptor
    Leehof). There is apparent immorality going on as
    we see what appears to be a naked frolic in
    Paris park outraged the public and the critics.
    If he had chosen nymphs and satyrs, he would not
    have received criticism, but by having reality in
    a mythical setting, and a nude women sitting with
    clothed men, it proved unsettling for the public.

Dejeuner sur lherbe (The Picnic)
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère
"Le Chemin de Fer" (The Railroad)
Rosa Bonheur
  • Rosa Bonheur showed a preference for portraying
    animals. She as well-known and respected during
    her lifetime and was the first woman made an
    officer in the Legion of Honor. History
    recognizes few females from this period, but Rosa
    Bonheur established herself as the foremost
    animalier, or animal painter, linked with
    landscape painting and the Realist tradition. 
    Through contacts, exhibitions, and reproductions
    spread worldwide, Rosa Bonheurs work was well
    known throughout Europe and America.  Her unusual
    ways attracted considerable public attention and
    she harnessed this interest throughout her life
    and established a position, commercially and
    artistically, for her work, becoming one of the
    most original figures of the 19th century

  • While Bonheurs work was widely acclaimed, it was
    generally difficult for women to sell their art
    up until this point in time.
  • There were, however, several methods which were
    used by many female artists to sell their art
  • Sell to other women.
  • Have a male friend or relative pass work off as
    his own.
  • Sell work anonymously.

Couching Lion
Plowing in the Nivernais
This is probably Bonheurs most famous painting.
The Horse Fair
Realism and Theatre
  • A conscious movement toward realism in the
  • emerged around the middle of the 19th century.
  • Dramatic literature strove for truthful
  • Thus, everyday life, with which the playwright
  • directly familiar, became the subject matter of
  • In realistic theatre the characters talk and act
    as people in ordinary life do. This was not
  • a pleasant dramatic experience and some
  • complained that the theatre was turning into a
  • or tavern. Playwrights countered the criticism
  • saying that the way to avoid such ugly depictions
  • stage was to change society.

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)
  • From Norway
  • Ibsen built powerful problem-dramas around
    carefully selected detail and plausible
    character-to-action motivations. His
    plays usually bring to conclusion, events
    that began well in the past,
    with thorough explanations.
  • Ibsens concern for detail carried
    to the scenery and
    costumes as well and his plays contain detailed
    descriptions of settings and properties, all
    of which are essential to the action.
  • The content of many of Ibsens plays was
    controversial and most deal with questions
    about moral and social issues that remain
    difficult today.
  • Ibsens most famous play, A Dolls House, is a
    great example of a typical Realism play.
  • He is considered to be the father of modern

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish Although his career overlapped the 19th and
20th centuries he embodied the spirit of 19th
century Realism. This artist, witty and
brilliant, was above all a humanitarian and
although many Victorians considered him a heretic
and a subversive because of his devotion to
socialism, his faith lay in humanity and its
infinite potential. Of all the English
dramatists, many people feel that Shaw ranks as
the greatest playwright next to Shakespeare
  • Irish

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
  • Shaws plays deal with the unexpected and they
  • appear contradictory and inconsistent in
  • and structure. His favorite device was to build
    up a
  • pompous notion and then destroy it. For example,
    in Man
  • and Superman, when a respectable Victorian family
  • that their daughter is pregnant, they react with
  • indignation. A character who appears to speak for
  • playwright comes to the girls defense, attacking
  • familys hypocrisy and defending the girl. She
  • explodes in anger, not against her family, but
    against her
  • defender. She had been secretly married all the
    time and, as
  • the most respectable of the lot, she condemns
  • defenders (and possibly the audiences)
  • The chief theme in Shaws plays is that society
    must protect and develop the individual rights of
    each person.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
  • Shaw opposed the doctrine, art for arts sake
  • he insisted that art should have a purpose. He
  • believed that plays made better vehicles for
  • messages than speeches or pamphlets. Although
  • each play usually has a character who acts as the
  • playwrights mouthpiece, Shaw does more than
  • sermonize. His characters probe the depths of the
  • human condition, often discovering themselves
  • through some life-like crisis.

Late Realism
  • Realism now included a great deal more than its
    19th century definition had allowed. It included
    more theatrical staging devices such as
    fragmented settings and many more nonrealistic
    literary and presentational techniques such as
    symbolism. As far as the theatre was concerned,
    stage realism and the realism of everyday life
    had parted company.

Tennessee Williams (1912-83)
  • Tennessee Williams skillfully blended
  • the qualities of realism with whatever
  • scenic, structural or symbolic devices
  • were necessary to achieve the effects
  • he wanted.
  • His plays, such as The Glass Menagerie
  • and A Streetcar named Desire, deal
  • sensitively with the psychological
  • problems of common people. One
  • of his greatest interests and strengths
  • was character development and this
  • often carries his plays forward as he
  • explores the tortured lives and the
  • illusions of his larger-than-life
  • characters.

Arthur Miller (1915-2005)
  • Arthur Miller probed
  • both the social and
  • psychological forces that
  • destroy contemporary
  • people in plays such as,
  • Death of a Salesman.
  • One of the first
  • playwrights to include
  • homosexual characters
  • in his plays.

  • The Realists search for spontaneity, harmonious
    colors and
  • subjects from everyday life and faithfulness to
  • light and atmospheric conditions led to the
    development of
  • a style used by a small group of painters in the
    1860s and
  • described by a hostile critic as impressionism.
  • impressionists created a new way of seeing
    reality through
  • color and motion. This style developed due to
  • with the newest technology of the time---the
    camera. These
  • painters tried to outdo photography by portraying
  • essentials of perception that cannot be captured
    by a
  • camera. They emphasized the presence of color
  • shadows and based their style on an understanding
    of the
  • interrelated mechanisms of the camera and the
    eye vision
  • consists of the result of light and color making
  • impression on the retina.

  • In its purest and truest form, Impressionism only
  • about 15 years, but it profoundly influenced all
  • that followed. Working out of doors, the
  • concentrated on the effects of natural light on
    objects and
  • atmosphere. Their experiments resulted in a
  • vision of the world around them and ways of
    rendering that
  • vision. For them the canvas was first of all, a
  • covered with pigments---small color patches
  • together created lively, vibrant images. The
    subjects painted
  • are impressions of landscapes, rivers, streets,
    cafes, theatres
  • and so on.

Claude Monet (1840-1926)
  • Claude Monet and fellow impressionist Auguste
  • Renoir spent the summer of 1866 working closely
    together and from that time came the beginnings
    of impressionism.
  • In his paintings, Claude Monet tried to find an
  • art of modern life by recording everyday themes
  • with on-the-spot, objective observation. He had
  • two aims representation of contemporary
  • subject matter and optical truththat is, the way
  • colors and textures really appear to the eye.
  • Monets paintings reflect an innocent joy in the
  • world around him and an intensely positive view
  • of life. His work encompasses scientific
  • observation, the study of optics and other
  • aspects of human perception.
  • Monet translated objects into color stimuli.

Claude Monet (1840-1926)
  • The scene conveys a
  • pleasant picture of the
  • times, an optimistic view
  • rather than the often
  • pessimistic outlook of the Romantics. Although
  • this is a landscape panorama, lack
  • of linear perspective or
  • atmospheric conditions
  • brings the entire painting
  • to the foreground with
  • almost no deep space.
  • The scene is bright, alive
  • and pleasant.

On the Seine at Bennecourt
Claude Monet (1840-1926)
This painting began it all. One critic referred
to this Monet, in a derogatory manner, as an
impression of a sunrise. Impressionism got its
name at that point.
Impression Sunrise
  • Impressionists often
  • painted the same
  • subject matter times at
  • different times of day
  • and in many seasons to
  • study the effects of
  • light on subjects.

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Mary Cassatt (1845-1926)
  • Mary Cassatt came from Philadelphia, a
  • minor center for the arts at the time.
  • However, she had experienced difficulties
  • entering the American art market. She first
  • joined and trained with the Impressionists in
  • 1877. She was financially independent and that
  • allowed her to ignore her familys objection to
  • being an artist (it was deemed unsuitable for a
  • woman, especially one of wealth). In fact, it was
    her wealth and connections with wealthy
    collectors in the U.S. that helped the
    Impressionists gain
  • exposure and acceptance in this country. Cassatt
    was also able to achieve considerable commercial
    success herself.
  • You will see that her favorite subjects are women
  • and children. Her brushwork is far less obvious
    than it is in other Impressionist works. It was
    like a combination of realism and Impressionism.
    This helped conventional
  • viewers to understand the works of the
  • Impressionists and closely relate to the scenes.

The Childs Bath Painted in clear, bright
colors, Cassatts subjects in The Childs Bath,
do not make eye contact with the viewer. Their
forms are purposeful and they awaken interest,
rather than emotions
Maternal Kiss.
The Boating Party
Young Mother Sewing
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
  • The surface and textural concerns of the
    Impressionists can be seen in the work of the
    centurys most remarkable sculptor, Auguste
    Rodin. Although his style is not easy to
    classify, we find plenty of idealism and social
  • Rodins textures are impressionistic his
    surfaces appear to shimmer as light plays on
    their irregularities, but they are more than
    reflective surfaces. They give his works dynamic
    and dramatic qualities. Although Rodin worked
    fairly realistically, he nevertheless created a
    subjective reality beyond the surface, and the
    subjectivity of his viewpoint is even more clear
    and dramatic in his pessimistic later sculptures.

The Burghers of Calais Commissioned by the City
of Calais, France as a public monument, the work
honors six leading citizens (burghers) who, in
1937, offered themselves as hostages to the
English King Edward III, who had laid siege to
the city. The burghers were ready to sacrifice
their lives if the city would be spared. King
Edward III was so impressed with their courage
that he spared both the burghers and Calais.
The Cathedral
The Thinker
The Kiss
  • In the last 2 decades of the 19th century,
    impressionism evolved into a
  • collection of disparate styles simply called
    post-impressionism. Post
  • Impressionists subject matter was similar to the
  • landscapes, familiar portraits, groups, café and
    nightclub scenes---but
  • the post impressionist gave their subject matter
    a complex and
  • personal significance.
  • The Post Impressionists were concerned about
    capturing a sensory
  • experience. They maintained the contemporary
    philosophy of art for
  • arts sake and rarely attempted to sell their
    works. The did want to
  • share their subjective impressions of the real
    world, but moved
  • beyond the romantic and impressionistic world of
    pure sensation.
  • They were more interested in the painting as a
    flat surface carefully
  • composed of shapes, lines and colors, an idea
    that became the
  • foundation for most of the art movements that

  • The post impressionists called for a return to
  • and structure in painting, characteristics they
  • believed were lacking in the works of the
  • impressionists. Using the light qualities of the
  • impressionists, they brought formal patterning
  • their canvases. They used clean color areas and
  • applied color in a systematic, almost scientific
  • manner. The post impressionists sought to return
  • painting to traditional goals while retaining the
  • palette of the impressionists.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1903)
  • van Gogh was intensely emotional in pursuing
  • form in a unique way. His turbulent life included
  • numerous short lived careers, impossible love
  • affairs, a tempestuous friendship with Paul
  • Gauguin and a serious mental illness. van Gogh
  • gives us one of the most personal and subjective
  • artistic viewpoints in the history of Western

In this work, Harvest at La Crau (The Blue Cart),
which van Gogh produced during his Arles period,
reflects an interest in complementary colors
(colors on opposite sides of the color wheel) van
Gogh, inspired by Japanese prints, placed large
areas of color side by side. Doing so, he
believed expressed the quiet, harmonious life of
the rural community.
Café Terrace at Night
A frenzy of energy explodes from van Goghs
paintings such as this one, Starry Night.
Flattened forms and outlining also reflect
Japanese influence. Tremendous power surges
through the painting, especially in focal areas
and we can sense the dynamic, personal feelings
and mental turmoil barely contained by the
paintings surface. This work represents one of
the earliest and most famous examples of
expressionism, a style we will study later.
Impressionism and Music
  • The anti-Romantic spirit produced a style in
    music that parallels that of the impressionistic
    painters. A free use of chromatic tones marked
    later 19th century style, even among the
    Romantics. However, a parting of the ways
    occurred, the effects of which still affect music
    today. Some composers made free use of chromatic
    tones and
  • key shifts but stayed within the parameters of
  • major/minor tonality. Others rejected traditional
  • completely and a new ATONAL harmonic expression
  • into being. This rejection of traditional
    tonality led to
  • impressionism in music. Foggy tonalities with
    dissonant and irregular rhythms were also
    characteristics of the Impressionistic style.
  • Music of the Impressionistic time period means
    creating mood and tone colors.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
  • Impressionist music can best be found in the
  • work of its primary champion, Claude Debussy,
    although he did not like to be called an
    impressionist because it had been coined by a
    critic of painters and was meant to be
    derogatory. Debussy claimed he was an old
    Romantic who has thrown the worries of success
    our the window, and he sought no association
    with the painters. There are however,
    similarities. His use of tone color has been
    described as wedges of color, much like those
    the painters provided with individual
    brushstrokes. Oriental influence is also
    apparent, especially in his use of the Asian
    six-tone scale. He wished above all to return
    French music to fundamental sources in nature and
    move it away from the heaviness of the German
    tradition. He delighted in natural scenes, as did
    the impressionist painters and he sought to
    capture the effects of shimmering light in music.

Debussy is best known for composing dream-like
piano pieces.
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
  • Debussy reduced melodic development to limited
  • motifs and, in perhaps his greatest break with
    tradition, he
  • moved away from traditional progressions of
  • harmonies. Debussy considered a chord strictly on
  • merits of its expressive capabilities, apart from
    any idea of
  • tonal progression within a key. As a result,
    gliding chords,
  • that is, the repetition of a chord up and down
    the scale,
  • became a hallmark of musical impressionism.
  • DISSONANCE and irregular rhythm and meter further
  • distinguish Debussys works. Form and content
  • subordinate to expressive intent. His works
    suggest, rather
  • than state, leaving the listener with only an
  • perhaps even an ambiguous one.
  • Debussy did not like Wagners music calling it
    heavy and tiresome.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
  • Freedom, flexibility and nontraditional timbres
  • mark Debussys compositions, the most famous
  • of which is Prelude a lapres-midi dun faune
    (Prelude to
  • the Afternoon of a Faun). (CD Track 19) This
  • uses a large orchestra, with emphasis on the
  • most notably in the haunting theme running
  • Two harps also play a prominent part in the
    texture, and
  • antique cymbals are used to add an exotic touch
    near the
  • end. Although freely ranging in an irregular 9/8
    meter and
  • having virtually no tonal centers, the Prelude
    does have the
  • traditional ABA structure.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
  • Maurice Ravel is often linked with his
  • French countryman Claude Debussy,
  • and there are some important similarities
  • in their music. Both used the rich
  • harmonies and new scales that are
  • usually associated with musical
  • impressionism, and both had an interest
  • in the exotic. But where Debussy
  • was a sensualist, influenced by the
  • symbolist and decadent movements,
  • Ravel was more of a craftsman and
  • traditionalist, creating a style that was
  • more neoclassical. Although he is considered
  • an impressionist, he followed the classical
  • structures of Haydn and Mozart.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
  • Ravels style became more and more classical as
    the years went by. He did not adopt Debussys
    complex sonorities and ambiguous tonal centers.
  • Ravel is known for his orchestra music in which
  • used symbolism. For instance, in Bolero, Ravel
  • exhibits driving rhythms meant to signify
    primitive tribal dances and urges.
  • Other works of Ravel---his Piano Concerto in
    G---use Mozart and traditional classicism as
    their models.
  • As you can see, some composers stayed completely
    within established neo-classical conventions of
    Western music well into the 20th century.
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