The Sound and the Fury: A Century of Music – Free For All

Unrestricted Modernism is kept in check by state control.

TV & Radio Information
BBC Four
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 21:00


In this second episode of the The Sound and the Fury, the effect of totalitarian regimes on the arts during the early decades of the 20th century is explored.

While some musicians initially believed that state control could benefit them, it soon became clear that a huge body of work would be suppressed. In Germany there was a ban on music composed by Jews, African-Americans and suspected communists, while the Soviet authorities in Russia prohibited workers from accessing music they couldn't hum.

The backlash from these restrictions saw music turn in a new direction, led by composers including Stockhausen, Boulez, Xenakis and Ligeti. They aimed to reinvent music and consciously reject the past.

Pierre Boulez, Peter Maxwell-Davis, Harrison Birtwistle and John Adams, among others, tell the story about how these composers have impacted music today.

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