Music in Vienna 1900 - Details


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In the first decades of the twentieth century Vienna was one of the most important centers of European music. With its long-standing tradition as the magnet that attracted the likes of Mozart and Beethovan, Vienna was a hub of Classical music. But beginning already early in the 19th century with the invention of the waltz by Johann Strauss Sr., and the continuation of this tradition by his son Johann Strauss Jr., Vienna was also a locale in which popular music began to thrive. The folk traditions of Vienna's diverse ethic populations contributed to the vitality of popular music. Edison's invention of the phonograph record in 1877 helped spread both popular and Classical music to a wider audience. This made possible for the first time the popular "hit," and Johann Strauss Jr. was perhaps the first musical star, travelling to America for a concert tour as early as 1872. Vienna 1900 also gave birth to the radical compositional form of twelve-tone music, developed above all by Arnold Schönberg and his principal pupil Alban Berg. If for Richard Wagner music was still an emotional language, "unfettered by the laws of logical thought," as he once wrote, twelve-tone music represented a protest against the entire tradition of music as an emotive form of expression. Mathematical logic rules the musical structure of the twelve-tone composition, with the musical theme reduced to a mathematical permutation of the twelve notes that compose the chromatic scale.