Several leading composers at work in the years around World War I wrote music distinguished by extremes of innovation, aesthetic, affect, and the like, what Taruskin refers to as “maximalism.” At the same time, their music displays a technical sophistication whose intellectual rigor seems the opposite of the apparent frenzy heard in performance. Choose two or three of the works we have discussed thus far in class (Strauss, Salome, Final Scene; Schoenberg, Five Pieces for Orchestra, op. 16; Berg, Wozzeck, Act 3; Scriabin, Piano Sonata no. 7, op. 64; Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring, Part 1 and Sacrificial Dance) and describe the interaction of these two elements. That is, discuss in detail specific musical traits that exhibit such high levels of sophistication, and describe an aspect of the extremes to which they give rise.
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