MUSI 038. Color and Spirit: Music of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Messiaen

A focused survey of 20th-century music centering on the great renewal of musical expression, increasingly diverging from the Austro-German classic-Romantic tradition, found in the works of these three very individual French and Russian composers, as well as the resonance of their music in the work of their contemporaries and successors, including Ravel, Dukas, Prokofiev, Boulez, and others. The course begins by tracing the origins of this "alternative" conception of what music can do, and how it can work, well back into the 19th century, especially in the music of Liszt and the Russian "Mighty Handful", then considers its continuing and seminal contribution to musical modernism throughout the 20th century. Prof. Levinson is a former student and assistant to Olivier Messiaen.

Some of the principal works to be studied are Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,  La Mer, the opera Pelléas et Mélisande, and songs and piano works;  Stravinsky's ballets  Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, and others, Symphony of Psalms, Symphony in Three Movements,  and the late serial works of the 1960s; Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, Turangalîla Symphony, Oiseaux exotiques, The Transfiguration,  the opera Saint Francis of Assissi, and songs, piano and organ works.
Prerequisite: MUSI 011 or permission of the instructor.
1 credit.
Spring 2020. Levinson.
Catalog chapter: Music and Dance: Music  
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