la musique contemporaine



        XXme century can be divided in two parts: The generation of the composers born after 1900 and before 1925, that one could name “the initiators”, Henri Dutilleux, André Jolivet, Olivier Messiaen, for the French and that of the composers born after this period.

        After the war of 39-45 two phenomena appear almost simultaneously: the massive irruption of the serial music, in the musical landscape and in addition beginnings of the electroacoustic music. The serial surge is due to the Nazism which had judged many declining musics, especially the school of Vienna. Works of Schoenberg, Berg, Webern prohibited during years, re-appeared after war with the glare of the innovation, symbolizing the antifascism.

        Separation between the two musical movements, is far from being as clear as it appears to with it. The composers who had turned with enthusiasm to the serial music post-Webernienne, will give up it, more where less quickly, will move away and more or less call from there upon the resources of electroacoustics.
Many composers born about 1925, will bring their contribution to the musical revival, each one in a different style, creating a multitude of ways, according to their research, their styles and their geographic origins and cultural.

         It is Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen, Maderna, Bério and well of others.
With these composers those are added which one could call “the agitators” with the rejection or the negation of the fixed forms and the appearance of the concept of open form. They are mainly American, of Aaron Copland, in John Cage, for example.

        All these composers will create a dynamics cultural a little chaotic, and anarchistic, which for the music lover leads to a paradoxical situation, similar to a bursting of the music.

        Difficult to find a way conducting. Never one will have made as much to attract the music lovers towards the music of their century, laid out of as many means to make known it, to put it at the range greater number.
The fact that one must promote the current music by slogans such as “Listen to your century” whereas one precisely arrives at the end of this century, leave perplexed.

        A few times ago I listened with a national radio, the analysis of the concerto for violoncello, a modern composer. The speakers extasiaient themselves on the paradoxes, of the “fortissimo” with a silencing device, to make agreements “strong” of four notes in pizzicato in the acute one, whereas it would have been simpler, according to them, them sound in the low register or the medium, and on the technical prowesses, of the trilles “glissando” etc… To conclude, they said that all that was possible to invent for the violoncello, had been it for this concerto.

        Is this thus that the modern music? Technical prowesses, paradoxes, effects?
One will note as from the Eighties a return to the “beautiful sound and his round and full” which give of the instruments that one less seeks to torture to tear off from the sounds for which they were not conceived.

        In the same way the tonality seems to be in the course of rehabilitation, even partial, and certain musicians of before guard assert a return to the tradition and promote even a music without claim.
It is good to remember that no century generated genious composers, per tens. In will hundred years how much composers of XXme century remain engraved in the History of the Music?
One should not reject in block all the modern music, but keep our open mind, critical… and artistic… .


            A friend, informed music lover, made me share one day of his interrogation about: “concept of progress, in art”
Twenty years were passed since this discussion, and I still do not have the answer to his question, so far. He either I is sure.
        If one refers in the preceding pages, one cannot be unaware of “the evolution” of art since the arrival of the man on the ground until our days. That it is in music, or Graphic art, all evolved, the styles developed, the kinds were refined then imposed in their final forms.


Léonard Bernstein

        Can one speak about progress, I think it, because all was to be invented, but simply on the level of the form, not on the level of Article the Gregorian chant have-you it less value than the fifth symphony of Beethoven?
The frescos of Lascaux do not have as much value, from the purely artistic point of view, whether works of Picasso or Matisse.
        This friend also said me a day, that “art was the witness of its time”, which explains why at present, more nobody does not write of the Mozart.
Nobody, will paint any more never again like Léonard de Vinci or Van Gogh. That was already done, and well done.

        It is however necessary to quote, some large musicians and composers.
All do not go in the same direction; some remain attached to last and of remember when they compose.




        Olivier Messiaen is born in 1908, it passes his childhood to Grenoble. Impassioned by the art of the East, it establishes a relation between the sounds and the colors. 

During the war in its stalag it composes a major work “the quartet for the end time ".


.        Henri Dutilleux, born in 1916, composed a sonata for piano (1948) two symphonies where he intends “to draw aside the structures too narrowly referring to the traditional form”, and a concerto for violin. 

Its first symphony poses an interrogation over musical time.

        The perception of silence related to time, will be from now on a constant of the research of the composer. 

It is in 1970 pennies the direction of Serge Baudo and with the assistance of Rostropovitch that “A whole remote world was created”.

        It is undoubtedly for me the French composer of XX me century.
Its extreme severity towards its own compositions, is worth us a not very abundant production, but of an exceptional density.


        This stage of the history of the music and because one cannot locate his appearance with historical precision of way, geographical or sociocultural I would like to say some words in connection with the Jazz.

        To understand what is the Jazz, it is necessary to take account of the musical heritage Afro-American, i.e. the Negro spiritual, of the Blues and Ragtime. This music is before a whole American phenomenon. It is at the beginning the expression of the American black people.

        It is a music, where reign a total freedom of improvisation, where pleasure of playing account very as much as the result obtained.

        Here is, beginning of the century, populates black American, improvisation, freedom, some words to give a very vague idea of what is the Jazz. But follow me in my page entirely devoted to the Jazz and you will discover another musical universe.


            The last musician of which I will speak, is Léonard Bernstein. He is born in 1918; composer and leader, he studies in Harvard and its formation proceeds only in the United States. From 1956 it directs the New York Philarmonic Orchestra until 1969. He writes three symphonies, “Jeremiah”, “Old off Anxiety”, “Kaddish” whose first execution takes place in Tel Aviv in 1963.

        In 1951 it composes a musical comedy “Wonderful Town” and in 1957
“West Side Story” which will bring to him international glory near the general public. He dies in 1990 in New York.



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