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Atomic Music.

March 14, 2010
I’ve referenced Barzun’s text From Dawn to Decadence many times on this blog because its made me think about music and art and culture in a very different way.  Its also jam packed with information, and I being the nerd I am, took all the little teasers in the book and wrote them down in a “To Explore Later” list.  One of the things I had been meaning to read was an article posted in The Musical Quarterly (Vol. 51, No. 1) by Antoine Golea (and translated by Lucile H. Brockway) entitled French Music Since 1945.  
I read it last week and really enjoyed it.  It gave me a number of musicians to add to my “To Explore Later” list and had some interesting commentary looking at music with a historical perspective but composed around the time of writing.  Obviously, a few of the names mentioned are very hard to find today – even armed with wikipedia and google.  Also, a few of the points made by the author would have been thought provoking in 1965, but today were somewhat tame.  
The main reason I read the article, though was for this quote:
To write, in the atomic age, atomic music may seem to be pretentious;
but there is certainly a measure of truth in this relationship. The
total dismantling of music and its total reconstruction under new laws,
that and nothing else is what contemporary serialists are undertaking.
The music of Boulez and his associates who have something real to say
is just that. And in that, they are doing nothing more than transposing
into music the terrible disorder of the world we live in.
Now, this post was sitting in the Draft pile for about a week until I happened on this Front Page Daily Kos article considering our present Nuclear-Age World.  The question, of course is, if we’re living in the Atomic Age, what happened to Atomic Music?  Modernism (which is so much more bland than Atomic Music, but then again, most of the people making it are not exactly PR geniuses) of course is still alive and kicking, especially out in Academia, but I really don’t think  Music History texts written about the 2000s will focus on it.
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