A History of Modern Music

A History of Modern Music

A History of Modern Music

A History of Modern Music

Excerpt

It might seem presumptuous to write a history of modern music at a time when that period, far from being finished, gives no sign of nearing its end. Without the necessary perspective it is difficult, indeed, to make a definitive judgment on the composers and their works, contemporary as they are, when the ideas they propose and the problems they raise are the object of our daily attention. Because we take part in discussions the composers begin, our tastes and inclinations are focused on the presentation, execution, and interpretation of the music in question. Therefore, our activity is necessarily colored by partisan feelings.

I want immediately to warn the reader, as I have done in other works, that I am neither a musicologist nor a music critic. I have served the cause of modern music as a musician who interprets modern works, or has them interpreted, while they are often still in manuscript and no tradition has been established for their interpretation. The musician who undertakes this task has a responsibility. He is used to studying scores entrusted to him, and judges their meaning and value before presenting them to the public.

Trained by the discipline of his work to acknowledge in his material only the musical realities, the sonorous values that compose it, and often guided in his work by the composers themselves, he is very close to the source of the music, and has the advantage of knowing it before it is deformed by false traditions or surrounded by legends which often are the cause of persistent misunderstandings.

If I have elected to write the history of modern music it is because I am convinced, after more than forty years in its service, that the contemporary period is one of the richest and most beautiful of musical history, and what is more important, that . . .

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