PRINT September 1979

Avant-Garde Issues in Seventies Music

THE MUSICAL AVANT-GARDE in the 1970s constitutes a complex mosaic whose integrative logic would seem to support a multitude of propositions, each with its own unique dialectical thrust. Today, when a composer’s sensibility can be dramatically influenced by such diverse musics as those of John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, North Indian improvisation or African drumming, to trace the various and variable ties among the many fragments of this mosaic becomes a difficult task indeed. This resembles the situation around the turn of the century, when the world of music exploded into a pluralistic universe comprising a myriad of compositional premises. Then—

What the dominant composers [of the early decades of this century] shared in common was a lack of, an avoidance of communality. . . . It was a struggle to create a world of musics, not a struggle between one music and another, serial and non-serial,

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