The twentieth century has been described in music as a neoclassical period with increased diversity of both style and structure. It was a period in music when composers wanted to return to aesthetic edicts which were mostly associated with the defined concept of classicism which were precisely order, balance, clarity, economy, and emotional restraint. The composers were moving away from the common current unrestrained emotionalism and perceived formlessness of late Romanticism. The neoclassical period included the use of expressions in features, and the peered down performing forces were used, on top of that more emphasis was put on the rhythm on the contrapuntal texture, the tonality in harmony was expanded or updated, and there was concentration on absolute music as opposed to the music that was composed during the romantic program music. Neoclassical era was given life by composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg. Stravinsky was trying to revive aspects of earlier music whereas Schoenberg pushed music in a forward which was determined by the nineteenth century historical development. These two composers had different approaches to music which later on resulted in a strong dispute between them that went on for years.
According to Kibin (2016) Schoenberg’s style and considerations on music have been determinedly extended by at least three generations both in the American and European backgrounds. It was recorded that on numerous occasions, it has also been passionately countered against such as during the rise of the Nazi party in Austria when his music was considered as corrupt art.
Schoenberg has been considered a persona who turned polemical musical aspect of the 20th century with his atonality advancement. It was during the 1920s when Schoenberg invented the twelve tone technique. It was a method of instrument whereby the composer ordered twelve notes series in a chromatic scale and this invention turned out to be a great invention.
Again the composer came up with the term developing variation, Schoenberg became the paramount composer to acknowledge an approach of developing themes without considering the idea of the control of a consolidated melodic awareness.
Heinz in Isacoff (2011) in his article notes that “apart from him being a painter, a prominent teacher of composition as well as a significant music theorist, Schoenberg taught a number of well-known musicians such as Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Earl Kim and many others.”
Heinzs perception about Schoenberg’s practices such as openly engaging audiences to think critically and crafting the compositional method in a formal way were replicated in advanced musical structures throughout the 20th century. Going back to Schoenberg’s past life, it was remarked that his visualizations and views on music were regularly polemical thus crucial to a lot of the major musicologists and opponents of the 20th century era.
Feu d’artifice (Fireworks) was a 1909 piece which he played and was heard by Sergei Diaghilev, the director of the Ballets Russes in Paris during a performance in Saint Petersburg. Diaghilev was satisfactorily impressed with the piece and he therefore hired Stravinsky to carry out some orchestrations and as a result he wrote the first ballet for the theater which he named The Firebird. Afterward this was rapidly followed by Petrushka and the Rite of Spring.
As for Stravinsky his career spanned through six decades and he composed a succession of works of astonishing diversity. There were the vibrantly colorful Russian ballets of the early stages, the sharp wit and purity depicted in his neo-classical compositions and the prevailing spirituality seen in works such as the Symphony of Psalms. In his later works, one could also recognize the highly individual application of serialism.
Scholars typically corral his abundant output into three periods the first being, colorful Russian phase; which he composed Feu d’artifice and attained reputation with the three ballets that were composed for Diaghilev.” These ballets are L’oiseau de feu, Petrushka and Le Sacre du Printemps, which was among the most legendary classical music revolution. The works of this period were largely influenced by Rimsky-Korsakov’s imaginative scoring and use of instruments and mainly employed Russian folk themes and motifs.
the midlife “neoclassical” time followed which was nearby 1920 and he implemented a musical idiom that was comparable to that of the classical period up till 1954 when he adjusted to twelve-tone serialism. Stravinsky’s earlier masterpieces, which highlighted his re-evaluation of Mozart’s and Bach’s conventional songs, were “Pulcinella”and “The Octet”.
For this style, he took up wind instruments and disposed of the large orchestras that were frequently required for ballet. The last neo-classical work was the opera, The Rake’s Progress in 1951 that was based on the designs of Hogarth. From 1954 to 1968, there was the third period which was also known as the serial period.
lastly, an era in which, after a lifetime of rivalry, he seemed finally to capitulate to Schoenberg by adopting the latter’s severe atonal system Schavisky used the twelve-tone performance in masterpieces such as Memoriam Dylan Thomas, Agon and Canticum Sacrum. He also expanded his use of dodecaphony in Threni, A Sermon, a narrative and a prayer and in The Flood all founded on biblical content.
Ivypanda (2018) in their report indicated that Walter, praised Stravinsky as an authority in 20th century music and has had substantial inspiration on composers of all eras in all divisions of music. “In his use of motivic development, which refers to the use of musical figures used in a composition, Stravinsky used additive motivic expansion where he further and detracted notes without regard to the following modification in meters.” He was also famous for using a distinct rhythm especially in The Rite of Spring, which later influenced composer Aaron Copland to a great extent.
According to Andrew J. Browne, “Stravinsky is possibly the first composer who has elevated rhythm in itself to the poise of art.” Stravinsky’s usage of neo-classicism headed to a general use of this style by musicians in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. In addition, he used folk material and regularly exposed folk themes to their most musical synopses using performances such inversion and diminution to warp them.
In instrumentation, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring has been recognized as the primary orchestral achievement in the 20th century. He also penned for inimitable blends of instruments set up in smaller groups. Besides, he is well recognized for periodically developing extreme arrays of instruments.
As evidently observed, apart from his technical innovations in harmony and rhythm, one can detect the varying faces of his compositional technique but with a preservation of a distinct individuality, which was also very significant. Stravinsky got his inspiration from different cultures, languages and literatures and therefore the influence he had on composers during his lifetime and even after his death is still remarkable.
According to Guion (2010), Stravinsky during an interview in 1963 called Schoenberg more of a musical chemist than artist. However he did acknowledge the significance of Schoenberg’s research on music. It can be said that both composers expanded their possibilities of what people might enjoy hearing. Stravinsky did not support the twelve note method and was recorded during an interview speaking of his disapproval of it as he said that he considered it “very much like Alois Haba’s experiments with quarter-tones explained that they exist only scientifically.
However as for Schoenberg he expressed his annoyance in unpublished writings discovered among his papers only after his death. Amongst his writings one was discovered which dated 1926. In it he distinguished his own desire to write music for the future with Stravinsky’s aspiration to write only the music of today. Schoenberg thought that Stravinsky’s use of older music as a classical somehow refuted his supposed view that it was “old-fashioned to regard any work of art as substantial for any era past the present.” In Schoenberg’s opinion, Stravinsky created nothing more significant than, say neckties, while he measured his own music more along the lines of seeking a cure for cancer. When he made a comment on the statement that Stravinsky alleged only of satisfying his customers divulges his envy even that early that Stravinsky’s music had acquired more public praise than his own. The passage of time did not neutralize the feud between the two men, as they grew older, their mutual dislike for one another did not mellow. It was noted that during the last years of Schoenberg’s life, the two men lived in Los Angeles and made sure everyone knew that they were discounting each other.
Continuing on about the two mens jealousies through music history Arnold Schoenberg stands at one end of the debate, viewed himself as the “progeny of the great tradition of European music,” as stated in Weiss and Taruskin’s Music in the Western World: A History in Documents. The composer was well known for using the twelve-tone system of composition, however Schoenberg had a different opinion, he considered his ideas an extension of nineteenth-century aesthetics. Twelve tone has been explained as the type of composition in which the composer takes the twelve notes of the chromatic scale, places them in an order of his choice, and then uses this series as the basis for his work.
Digging into the root of the two mens past, after an analysis of the information found, Scholars say that Schoenberg and Stravinsky were once cordial associates however sometime in the 1920s before the divide seemed to become apparent. Journalists intense focus on the two men certainly did not help with matters as they quoted both composers in opposition to each other. Schoenberg is noted as calling Stravinsky’s music “chic, attention-grabbing” while Stravinsky sought his opponent’s “music of the future” ridiculous.
Both men contributed well to the neoclassism of music. Schoenberg did indeed have the view that he was somehow heir to his vision of future music and he undoubtedly misconstrued its lasting value. Perhaps it is as much because of personal hostility as anything else that Stravinsky sought to make use of Schoenberg’s experimentation with tone rows only after Schoenberg died. Even then, he pointedly made his own rows of some other number of notes than twelve and acknowledged only Anton Webern as an inspiration. In comparing the two composers’ creativity, it can be said that Stravinsky’s music was naturally conceived for the most part, whereas Schoenberg’s develops from a deterministic model or view of music.