Optimism amid the Rubble

Richard Taruskin

in The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942790 | DOI:
Optimism amid the Rubble

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This chapter presents an essay on Stefan Wolpe, a serialist composer and a former dadaist. Wolpe's dialectical composing process resulted in an extreme instability of rhythm and meter, where the performance's rhythm were transmitted in lurchy and explosive syncopations. His music is now widely popular in Germany, where there have been Wolpe festivals, and Canada and his music is backed by various mainstream artists such as Mr. Serkin and Mr. Ohlsson and oboists like Mr. Taylor and Heinz Holliger. One of the reasons cited for the surge in interest and enthusiasm for his music is avant-garde orientation. Because of his association with political avant-garde, i.e., Communism since 1928, he had to flee from Germany in 1933, had to leave his job with the Palestine Conservatory in Jerusalem and settle in the United States in 1938.

Keywords: Stefan Wolpe; dadaist; Heinz Holliger; Palestine Conservatory; avant-garde; serialist

Chapter.  2571 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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