Fall 2023

The Musical Symptoms of Modernism

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-223  |  Music, as MUSI-223


Klara Moricz (Section 01)


(Offered as MUSI 223 and EUST 223) Two World Wars, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the dropping of the atomic bomb were cataclysmic events that made the twentieth century one of the most traumatizing time periods in human history. And yet music did not fall silent. Composers continued writing music, giving aural expression to symptoms characteristic of the condition of modernism. How did Richard Strauss's opera Salome about a necrophiliac princess lusting for a severed head become one of the most successful operas in Europe? Why did Stalin alternately persecute and reward the Soviet Union's most talented composer, Dmitri Shostakovich? Why did composers insist on writing unlistenable, incomprehensibly complex music after World War II? Listening to a wide variety of music from Mahler to Kaija Saariaho, reading historical documents and other relevant essays, we'll explore symptoms of modernism and how composers and their music interacted with their culture milieu and historical context. Assignments will include regular listening, periodic short papers, and a culminating project.

Requisite: MUSI 111 or 211, or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Moricz.

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: written work, readings, listening, independent research, oral presentations, group work.

MUSI 223 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM ARMU 102
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM ARMU 102


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2023