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Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage$
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Peter Brown and Suzana Ograjenšek

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199558551.001.0001

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Crossings of Experimental Music and Greek Tragedy

Crossings of Experimental Music and Greek Tragedy

(p.285) 15 Crossings of Experimental Music and Greek Tragedy
Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage

Christian Wolff

Oxford University Press

The intersections of twentieth-century music with ancient Greek tragedy are many and various, reflecting the exceptional stylistic and ideological heterogeneity of twentieth-century culture. This chapter singles out four examples taken from Darius Milhaud's music for Aeschylus' Libation Bearers (1915–16), Erik Satie's Socrate (1919), Harry Partch's adaptation of Euripides' Bacchae, Revelation in the Courthouse Park (1961), and Iannis Xenakis's music for Aeschylus' Oresteia (1965–66, with additions in 1987 and 1992). The differences between these four composers' music illustrate the fragmentation of twentieth-century musical culture. That they all, in various degrees, came to work with ancient Greek material does partially connect them. The chapter discusses how this happens, with consideration of some possible reasons for it.

Keywords:   twentieth-century music, Greek tragedy, Darius Milhaud, Erik Satie, Harry Partch, Iannis Xenakis

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