He criticizes the dogma deployed by some proponents of twelve-tone music and diagnoses totalitarian tendencies in serialism as a system that he sees as having been unfairly dominant; later, in his interview with Nauck, he speculates that serial music
could not have existed in its dominant form without the Cold War.
He is represented by his magnificent setting of Psalm 130, "De profundis." Milton Babbitt, Schoenberg's successor in the realm of serial music
, acclaimed this as the finest performance of the work he had heard.
Specialists can see a huge difference between aleatoric music by John Cage and serial music
by Pierre Boulez, but most people, even educated people, cannot.
In 1973 Allen Forte published his highly influential book, The Structure of Atonal Music, in which he develops a set-theoretic analysis of serial music
. (17) Forte's approach involves rewriting "simultaneities" as pitch-class sets and reducing them to their "normal" ordering, with intervals arranged to be as short as octave equivalence allows.
Who would have guessed that Stravinsky, who composed Apollo's score in the traditional French style of 17th and 18th centuries, would throw himself into the radical realm of serial music
Shaped by broadcasting into a "musical Babbitt,"--a reference to Sinclair Lewis's epitomic philistine and a possible barb to the Princeton composer of serial music
who ignored Adorno's calls--quality broadcast reception becomes a fetish for the listener to "do good work" by capturing the best signal possible.
This was a breath of fresh air for some of us, after the tiring complexities of serial music
, extended instrumental techniques (Luciano Berio et al.), and classical music pastiche (George Rochberg et al.)--with the former, a somewhat forced effort to complicate things, and the latter, a kind of regressive nostalgia.
However, for an expert of serialism, serial music
has an organizing principle that takes it far from noise, perhaps even as far from noise as possible in its structural predetermination.
Instead, he used complex, dissonant, atonal and serial music
, but could still write lush melodies when needed.
Given the relative lack of historical scholarship about the recent past of American classical music, postwar American serial music
remains marginalized, and the historical literature (as opposed to the theoretical literature) is still relatively undeveloped.
(And who really reads Joyce?) Copland may have written some serial music
, but no one listens to the stuff, even those of us who've tried.
For example, forty years ago, not composing serial music
meant not being a composer at all, and this was a clear tendency openly registered in books, articles and papers.