It is something of a miracle (and a tribute to man's creative instinct) that immediately after the carnage and tragic waste of World War II a vigorous cultural and musical life resumed. Artistic currents, submerged by totalitarian governments and the war, rushed to the surface. Famous older composers--even Richard Strauss--came out of their retreats with important new compositions, and a number of middle-generation composers, largely unnoticed before the war, now attracted attention. Young men, schoolboys during the war, puzzled and disturbed their elders with the audacity of their new ideas.
It will be the task of future historians to define the musical styles of the mid-century; however, some tentative observations can be presented here. The most apparent dominant trend seemed to be the development of the styles established by Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern, particularly the last. In France before the war there had been no recognition of twelve-tone music, but now an important group of young French composers became its ardent proponents. During the Nazi years in Germany and Austria the idiom had been forbidden, and former students of Schoenberg and Webern went underground. They now assumed positions of importance, and a vigorous school of dodecaphonists gathered around them. Others, such as Dallapiccola in Italy