By Jacob Stockinger
Apparently the composer Johannes Brahms was very fond of going to outdoors concerts in his native Vienna.
No surprise. There is something liberating and social, something relaxed and informal, for both players and listeners about hearing music outdoors. (Below is the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performing under its music director and conductor Andrew Sewell at the state Capitol.)
As summer comes to a close and fall approaches, it is good to recall that we in Madison are lucky to have so many outdoors musical events and so many of high quality.
During this past summer, for example, outdoor concerts were given by: the Madison Symphony Orchestra in its Concert in the Park; the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in its justly popular Concerts on the Square; the Madison Opera for its “Opera in the Park” (below); and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras in its Concert in the Park. And there are many others who could be named.
Then too, I think of so much other kinds of music, usually non-classical and very often roots music such as folk and bluegrass, that gets performed at various outdoors venues from the Wisconsin Memorial Union’s Lakefront Terrace at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, La Fete de Marquette, the inaugural Make Music Madison Festival and the Orton Park Festival to little groups of musicians that play informally at the Dane County Farmers’ Market and various other farmers’ markets in the area.
Yet there are serious challenges to performing outdoors that non-musicians may not know about that are easy for the public to overlook. (Check out the YouTube video at the bottom and its advice from London about playing outdoors.)
Corinna da Fonsecca-Wollheim of the New York Times recently wrote about some of those challenges as an outdoors concert at the bandshell in Central Park by the acclaimed Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center was gearing up to perform its first-ever outdoor concert, of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Antonin Dvorak, for the Naumburg Orchestra Concerts.
It is a very well done story with sources including the concert veteran and former Emerson String Quartet cellist David Finckel (below) and others. And her reporting gets quite specific about the challenges from keeping instrument in tune and playing the music to taking care of instruments and securing music in the stand.
Here is a link to a story that should remind us of what we can be grateful for this past summer and what we can look forward to next summer:
Do you play music outdoors?
What stories or anecdotes and experiences can you share with others about the challenges of playing music outdoors?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
After Labor Day, the school year, for both K-12 and high education, will officially start.
Imagine walking into a classroom or lecture hall with more than 30,000 students.
That is what the acclaimed young pianist Jonathan Biss (below) who teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia – the most selective higher educational institution in the country, according to one report – faces when he tackles his first course on the 32 piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven. (Several seasons ago, Jonathan Biss turned in a superb performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Major, K. 467, with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.)
That Biss will reach so many clasiscal music fans is thanks to a MOOC – a “Massive Open Online Course.”
(Biss is recording all 32 of the Beethoven piano sonatas for Onyx Classics, which will release volume 3 this fall. The Ear finds his performances extraordinary and convincing. You can hear Biss in an interview on the PBS “Newshour” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
Then there is another great pianist, Stephen Hough, the MacArthur “genius grant” winner from the United Kingdom, who has done a special app on Franz Liszt’s legendary Sonata in B minor. That too will allow him to reach many thousands of listeners and new audiences who can follow his playing with the score and his own annotations as well as view his finger playing the virtuosic work. (Hough has performed in Madison in both solo recitals at the Wisconsin Union Theater and in concertos with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and gave a terrific masterclass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.)
So The Ear wonders: Will MOOCs and APPs come to the rescue of classical music, which seems increasingly to be losing relevance and popularity?
It could happen.
The possibilities have certainly been treated in the media lately.
Here, for example, is a great story, with a lot of specifics and details, about Jonathan Biss’ Beethoven course and the Stephen Hough’ Liszt app, that was published by The New York Times:
And here is a similar story that appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal:
Over 30,000 people have enrolled in the Beethoven course to date: seven times the total number of students who have attended Curtis since the school opened its doors in October 1924.
The five-week course starts this coming Tuesday, September 3, 2013–the first day of Curtis classes–and is aptly named “Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas.” Biss has posted recommended reading and listening materials here.
In the course description, Biss writes, “It is not necessary to have studied an instrument or to have any knowledge of music theory to take the course. Rather, it is designed for students of all backgrounds who have a desire to learn more about Beethoven and his world.”
Coursera offers classes that are free of charge and are designed to help the student master the material. A key factor in the design of the Coursera system is the extensive use of interactive exercises. Within videos, there are multiple opportunities for interactions: the video frequently stops, and students are asked to answer a simple question to test whether they are tracking the material.
There will also be stand-alone homework that is not part of video lectures. Students can watch Biss’s lectures at their leisure, but the classes are structured with regular deadlines. Each student who completes the course will receive a statement of accomplishment at the end of the series.
Curtis will a launch a second Coursera class in October titled “From the Repertoire: Western Music History through Performance.” Taught by Jonathan Coopersmith, chair of Musical Studies, and David Ludwig (’01), the Gie and Lisa Liem Artistic Chair of Performance Studies and a member of the composition faculty, the course illuminates Western music history through explorations of seminal works over the past six centuries.
As for the Beethoven course by Biss, here is a preview:
And here is a way to sign up for it:
You can find Stephen Hough’s Liszt app in the app store of Apple and Google’s Play.
By Jacob Stockinger
This year is the bicentennial of the birth of composer Richard Wagner.
Just about everything about Richard Wagner (below) is epic and titanic, dramatic and revolutionary.
Little wonder, then, that he is known especially for “The Ring of the Nibelung,” that 16–hour, four-opera mythological cycle that challenges the most resourceful singers, actors, stage directors, orchestras, conductors and opera companies. It took many complications and until the 1960s for conductor Sir Georg Solti to make the first complete recording of “The Ring” for Decca — and it still holds up to the best complete recordings since then.
Stop and think and consider this: In the time it usually takes to hear “The Ring” you could listen to all the symphonies and concertos of Beethoven, or all his string quartets and most of his piano trios.
True, some of Wagner’s vocal music is quite stirring and enthralling.
But only some of it — at least to my ears.
I share some of the sentiments of his detractors, who included some pretty good artists and discriminating musicians.
Take the composer Gioachino Rossini, who quipped “Wagner’s music has great moments but dull quarter hours.”
The American writer and humorist Mark Twain observed that “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.”
The comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen remarked: “Every time I listen Wagner, I get the urge to invade Poland.”
If you like those, here is a link to some more quips about Wagner, including some by French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire and French composer Claude Debussy:
I am probably a dissenter, but I think Wagner generally wrote better for instruments than he did for the voice. At least I generally find his orchestral music tighter and more enjoyable to listen to.
Indeed, I would like to hear the Madison Symphony Orchestra or the University of Wisconsin-Madison Symphony Orchestra do one of the various versions of “The Ring Without Words,” perhaps the orchestral anthology of highlights from “The Ring” and other operas that famed conductor George Szell (below) arranged and conducted with the Cleveland Orchestra (in a YouTube video at the bottom).
I love the overtures and preludes, and I don’t think they get programmed often enough these days. Same for the charming “Siegfried Idyll.”
I remember an old vinyl LP recording with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. How I loved, and found endlessly thrilling the Overture to “Tannhauser,” the “Prelude and Liebestod” to “Tristan und Isolde,” the Overture to “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg,” preludes from “Lohengrin,” and the magically static and haunting Prelude to “Parsifal.” They are terrific curtain-raisers.
I also love “best moment” anthologies so it is also good to see choices like the new recording by the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann – a great choice since Kaufmann (below) seems a perfect Wagner singer who has a huge but subtle voice, stamina and the handsome good looks for the parts.
Anyway, here is a link to the Wagner discography in The New York Times:
What is your favorite Wagner recording? What piece and what performer?
And do you favor his vocal or instrumental music?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Much or even most of the festival is directed by Bard College president Leon Bostein. Concerts are held in the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts (below) that was designed by the noted architect Frank Gerhy.
This year’s theme was Igor Stravinsky, and the first weekend of the festival examined his Russian roots and his earlier work. Last weekend I offered the insightful account and assessment by The New York Times critic Zachary Woolfe, who has been named by some sources — including famed critic Norman Lebrecht — as the designated successor to senior music critic Anthony Tommasini.
Here is a link to that posting:
Lass weekend saw the conclusion of “Stravinsky and His World.” It examined later works, with an emphasis on his neo-Classical works (listen to the tuneful clarity of the YouTube video of Stravinsky’s “Pulchinella” Suite at the bottom performed by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic); the composer’s and culture’s reaction against Richard Wagner and the lushness of late Romanticism as well; and the general career and music of Stravinsky (below, in a photo by Richard Avedon) while he was in exile in France and the U.S.
The activities included a performance of “Perspehone” with Jean Stillwell as the narrator (below in a photo by Cory Weaver of the New York Times).
Here is a link to another perceptive assessment by another critic for The New York Times, Steve Smith (below):
I’m sure the festival was filled with great music, great performances and rare insights.
For that reason as I wrote last time, the Bard Music Festival is one that really tempts me. What other festival would treat music more as philosophy and history and less as entertainment? What other festival would devote itself, for example, to Camille Saint-Saens or Jean Sibelius?
By Jacob Stockinger
Many classical music festivals, in the summer and throughout the year, interest me and I would be happy to attend them. But only a relatively few really call me or beckon me or tempt me to attend.
One is the Van Cliburn competition for AMATEURS, not the professional one. Another is the Gilmore Festival, which chooses winners not really by individual competition – or at least conscious competition – but rather by judges who follow the careers of various pianists and then hand out the awards.
Another festival I would like to attend is the Oregon Bach Festival because Johann Sebastian Bach’s body of work is so rich. A fourth is the annual summer International Keyboard Festival at Mannes School of Music in New York City because it includes relatively unknown performers, intriguing programs and very intriguing master classes.
But a major orchestral festival that calls me strongly is the annual summer music festival at Bard College in New York State’s Hudson River Valley, whose president Leon Botstein plans and leads the events, (Below is Leon Botstein in conducting the American Symphony Orchestra last Saturday in a photo by Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times. At bottom, in a YouTube video, you can hear him discussing his “Classics Declassified” series.)
Critic Zachary Woolfe of The New York Times this past week gave a terrific account of the opening weekend of the festival, which this year is devoted to Igor Stravinsky (below). It will finish up this weekend and I expect to post something about its conclusion.
Woolfe (below) makes all the right points about why I find the festival at Bard so tempting, from the quality and importance of the music and often unusual repertoire to the fine performances and performers as well as the unusual angle or focal point that is often adopted.
Here is a link to Woolfe’s readable and detailed account. See if it doesn’t make you, like me, want to attend the festival:
Which music festivals have you most enjoyed and would recommend?
Which ones would you most like to attend?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Longtime readers of this blog know my admiration for the British pianist Stephen Hough (below).
Hough, who won the prestigious Naumberg Competition while at the Juilliard School, plays the piano superbly well and has a large shelf full of international awards for his recordings on the Hyperion label. He especially likes to explore less well-known repertoire.
He is a terrific teacher and coach, as I have witnessed firsthand in a masterful master class (below) in Madison.
But in addition to his career as a concert pianist, the supremely talented Hough — who is an astonishingly accomplished polymath or Renaissance man — also writes a regular and highly informative and entertaining blog for the Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom. He touches on everything from, of course, the piano (especially historic pianists and performances) to theology (an openly gay man he converted to Roman Catholicism at 19) and fashion (especially his fondness for hats). One of his best entries for me was about the role of hitting wrong notes:
Here is a link to his website:
Here is a link to his marvelous blog:
What most people – and I include myself – - most admire about Hough’s playing is its clarity, its sense of measure and proportion.
As he himself says, he is not much given to “hairy-chested” interpretations of big, intense Russian music like Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. His recent award-winning recording of the complete Chopin waltzes shows his ability to find new and convincing things to say about familiar works and he says them clearly as well as gracefully and elegantly. (Just listen to the YouTube video at the bottom.)
He discusses his approach in a fine interview and profile that appeared in The New York Times just before a Carnegie Hall recital this past spring in which is also played his latest big work, his own Sonata “Notturno luminoso.”
And here is a review in the Times of that recital:
But the real surprise for me came when I about and saw his style of painting. He paints in oils, and he exhibits and sells his art.
But unlike his music-making, his painting of this MacArthur “genius award” winner seems almost violently Abstract Expressionist.
Here are a couple of examples:
But of course ultimately it is piano playing that keeps Hough – who resides in the UK, New York and Australia – in the public eye. Listen to this Chopin waltz and you can understand why.
By Jacob Stockinger
With the rising social and political acceptance of marriage equality, or same-sex marriage, it is hard not to imagine that there will also be even more interest in gay history and whether great and important figures from the past will be “outed” as gay, lesbian and bisexual.
That is especially true of the pioneering 20th-century Russian modernist composer Igor Stravinsky (1881-1972, below top) -– 2013 is the centennial of his landmark ballet score “Rite of Spring” – who has been “outed” in the new book “Stravinsky: Discoveries and Memories” by 90-year-old Robert Craft (below bottom, on the right with Stravinsky on the left), who was the composer’s longtime friend and assistant.
Specifically, Craft says, Stravinsky – who was married to women three times and was said to have been proud or even boastful of his heterosexuality – had affairs with Andrey Rimsky-Korsakov (below top), the oldest son of Stravinsky’s teacher, the famous Russian composer and orchestrator Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; with French composer Maurice Ravel (below middle, with Ravel on the left and Stravinsky on the right); and with Belgian composer Maurice Delage (below bottom).
Perhaps the most comprehensive and careful or even conservative treatment of the questions raised by Craft and his book (below), which was published by the thriving Naxos Records, came in The New York Times through the treatment by reporter and critic Zachary Woolfe.
Here is a link to that story by Zachary Woolfe (below):
Other writers and media outlets also covered the controversial story, which was bound to get attention, given the “virility” of Stravinsky’s most famous scores and the wide influence he had on modern music. Be sure to read the Comments sections, since you will there find many other points of view and debate from the “consumers.”
Here is another fine story from the Los Angeles Times:
And here is how famed critic Norman Lebrecht (below) first treated the matter:
And then here is how Lebrecht later got pretty dour about Woolfe and the Times as well other critics or questioners of Craft’s claims:
One thing is for sure: Craft’s contentions and the validity of his proof as well as the effect of the claim will surely be analyzed and talked about a lot at the special Stravinsky festival in August at Bard College near New York City.
What do you think of the claim? True or false?
And if true, how much do you think it matters?
The Ear — who thinks almost all great art and great artists involve a real or symbolic transgression of sexual taboos — wants to hear.
So check out the sheer transgressive sensuality and even sexuality of the music and dance, with choreography by the famed PIna Bausch, and the dancers’ bodies in the YouTube video below:
By Jacob Stockinger
By now, many of us in this country and around the world have heard about “el sistema,” the pioneering music education movement for young people in Venezuela that gave us the superstar young conductor Gustavo Dudamel (below) who learned his art with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, which he still conducts and records with when he isn’t with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Closer to home, I have often written about my admiration for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) in Madison and their 96-year-old founder Marvin Rabin as well as their enthusiastic and cheering audiences.
But it seems that music education for young people has taken a gigantic leap forward with the National Symphony Orchestra of the United States of America (below, seen rehearsing) that draws its play from around the nation.
It was created by and is sponsored by the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall – some pedigree, no? (Unfortunately, I can’t find a list of possible Wisconsin participants. If you know of any please let me and the other readers now.) Below is a photo, from Carnegie Hall, of some of the 120 players chosen from more than 100 cities in 42 states, entering their first rehearsal with a great NYO-USA poster in red, white and blue. (For more information, look at the YouTube video at the bottom.)
It performs in major halls, including Carnegie Hall, and has launched a tour with the American superstar violinist Joshua Bell (below top, who is also now the concertmaster and conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields) and the acclaimed Russian conductor Valery Gergiev (below bottom). Plus the ambitious program suitably featured major Russian works, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 plus a new commissioned work from the young American composer Sean Shepherd that paid homage to Russian composers.
That such big names are willing to participate in this project tells you something important about it and its future.
If you haven’t heard about it – and I have seen precious little about it in the mainstream media except for PBS, NPR and The New York Times, it is time to catch up.
So here some links to help you earn about what seems like such a promising event that some observers say it has the potential to revitalize the classical music scene in the U.S.
Here is a link to its home website at Carnegie Hall with a lot of photos (below is one of the group rehearsing by Chris Lee of The New York Times):
Here is a link to a great background or set-up story on NPR:
And here is a rave review from Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times of the orchestra’s first performance of its first historic tour:
By Jacob Stockinger
Every once in a while, it’s good to look back and realize with renewed appreciation what pieces and performers first hooked you at a young age on classical music.
You could call it nostalgia, but it really was more of a Proustian act of recovering lost time, without a lot of sentimentality but instead with a lot of clear-eyed adult analysis and appreciation.
He was born into a non-musical family, but the young Tommasini nonetheless found himself inexorably drawn toward classical music.
As a young pianist, he got hooked on some unusual repertoire, short pieces that are often overlooked today. Can you guess which pieces by which composer? They might surprise you.
And he favored certain well-known dramatic works by Beethoven (below) especially one particular piano sonata he attempted to play as well as a couple of other sonatas and one of the piano concertos.
Both sets of works, small and large, were performed by two of the Truly Great Pianists of his youth — Arthur Rubinstein and Rudolf Serkin.
Tommasini also write about his first opera that hooked him for life on opera. Care to guess which one by which composer? And where he heard it?
And local readers may recall when Tommasini (below right) came to Madison to do a residency during the UW-Madison’s centennial celebration of the Pro Arte Quartet two seasons ago. He spoke articulately and passionately at the Wisconsin Union Theater, then did a Q&A with composer William Bolcom (below left) and UW piano professor Todd Welbourne (below middle) before the world-premiere performance of a commissioned work, William Bolcom’s Piano Quintet No. 2, with the Pro Arte Quartet and UW pianist Christopher Taylor:
Anyway, here is a link to Tommasini’s story, complete with a terrific and an unexpected anecdote at the end as well as recordings of the specific pieces form his youth that you should listen to:
It wasn’t the first time Tommasini talked about seminal classical works in his past. Here is another that involved Chopin:
Like Tommasini, I too was given to romantic drama, or even melodrama, as a young person. That, I suspect, is typical. Young people don’t generally first fall in love with the Baroque. I just adored Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Prelude in C-sharp minor, called “The Bells of Moscow” by its fans and called “It” by Rachmaninoff who grew to detest the popular piece that he was always asked to play as an encore. And I too had to try my hand or hands at it, to play and perform it. And then it was Rachmanioff’s lush Piano Concerto No. 2 in a great old recording by Arthur Rubinstein and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner.
What pieces and performers first hooked you on classical music?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Specifically, those honors tell you that MEMF has come of age and is now a firmly established classical music event with a national and even international following and audience as well as performers (Cantus Consort Leipzig, Dark Horse Early Brass Consort, the Renaissance band Piffaro and the Parthenia Consort) and students.
Here is a link with complete information about the 14th annual Madison Early Music Festival, including venues, dates and times as well as performers and programs. As a general rule, FREE pre-concert lectures are at 6:30 p.m. in Room L-160 of the Elvehjem Building of the Chazen Museum of Art and concerts are in Mills Hall at 7:30 p.m.
I recently spoke with UW-Madison baritone Paul Rowe his wife soprano Cheryl Bensman Rowe, who serve as co-artistic directors of the festival. (Both are seen below in a photo from the 2012 sold-out MEMF concert by Anonymous Four.)
Here is their email Q&A:
How successful is this year’s festival compared to others in terms of enrollment, budgets, performers, etc.? Is MEMF clearly established now nationally or even internationally?
We are running ahead of normal this year in terms of participants, and we are sure that once the festival gets closer we will have a larger number of people involved than usual. This is partly due to the success of last summer’s festival and partly to the music and era that we are focusing on this summer.
The addition of the Handel aria competition has given us a different kind of visibility. The large number of entries and inquiries shows how established the festival is nationally. It is gratifying to see that we are now being listed in several national publications.
This year’s music has something for everyone interested in early music since it is situated during the change in styles between what is usually called the Renaissance and the early Baroque.
This means that while music was changing there was still a great deal of carry-over in terms of musical style and the instruments that are used. So there are recorders, sackbuts (early trombones, below top) and shawms (early oboes, below bottom) but also violins, cellos, harpsichords and other more instruments that are more familiar to “classical” audiences.
What is new and what is the same in terms of format, students, faculty members and performers?
The main differences this year are the addition of a masked ball on Wednesday night and the new Handel Aria Competition, the finals of which will take place on Monday night. (A portrait of Handel is below.)
Why was the topic of the German Renaissance chosen for the early music festival? What composers and works will be highlighted?
The specific time of the international celebration in March of 1616 gives a specific focus to the festival this year. The reason for the two-week party was the christening of the fifth son of the Duke of Württemberg (below), who was very well-connected in social and political circles.
This time in history saw many such celebrations all over Europe and normally included theatrical, sacred and other celebrations. Much of the music and other details about the activities were printed in a kind of souvenir book that was distributed among the important guests. The events included a sacred mass (which will provide much of the music for the all festival concert), a masked ball, dances and theatrical presentations on allegorical themes.
This was also the time of many great composers including Heinrich Schütz (below), J.H. Schein, Samuel Scheidt, Michael Praetorius, Claudio Monteverdi, Hans Leo Hassler, the two Gabrielis and many lesser-known names.
This was also the first flowering of music publishing so much of the music from this time is available to us.
How does the German Renaissance in music differ from its counterparts in, say, Italy, France and England. What is the historical origin and role of the music from that era in that part of the world?
There is a great deal of crossover between the musical styles. International music was heavily influenced by the Italian composers, with whom many composers from other countries went to study. There was some attempt to incorporate styles to suit the language and fashion in each country.
In Germany, this meant attempts at opera in German most famously in Heinrich Schütz’ opera “Dafne,” which was presented some 10 years after the event we are using as a starting place. Germany also attempted to blend the dominant Italian style with the post-Reformation church music including the Becker psalter and the hymns of Martin Luther (below).
What music and composers of the era have been most neglected and least neglected by historians and performers?
Schütz is the most famous German composer from this era but there were many other including the aforementioned Schein, Scheidt, Praetorius (below), Hassler and also Matthias Weckman, Christoph Bernard, Heinrich Albert and Johann Kaspar Horn.
Can you tell us about the program “Stuttgart 1616” for the All-Festival Concert on Friday, July 12?
Most of the music for the final concert will be drawn from the mass that was composed by Leonhard Lechner (below top and at bottom in a YouTube video), for the christening along with traditional chant and other sacred music by Ludwig Daser, Balduin Hoyoul, Simon Lohet, Gregor Aichinger, Michael Praetorius and Hans Leo Hassler (below bottom).
Are there other sessions, guest lectures and certain performers that you especially recommend for the general public?
The lineup of guest groups is very strong this year. Most of the groups will be familiar to Madison audiences with the exception of Calmus Ensemble Leipzig from Germany and the Dark Horse Consort from New York. Calmus (below top) is an award-winning vocal ensemble whose concert will feature music from several different eras, including some works by J.S. Bach. Dark Horse Early Brass Consort (below bottom in a photo by Tatiana Daubek) is presenting a program of music for brass, voices and continuo.
Some of this music will be the most familiar music of this time with the Venetian-influenced double choirs and echo effects and extremely powerful blocks of sound for which brass ensembles are known.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
This summer promises to be a window into this time in history when many changes were in the air. It was a time of peace and prosperity all over Europe that was soon to end in the Thirty Years war.
In some ways it is similar to our “Roaring” Twenties with all kinds of musical styles mixing together as fashions shift. All the economic activity encouraged exchanges of art, music and literature, which was promoted further by the expansion of print.
It is also different to examine Germany at this time when we normally look at Italy, England and northern Europe. Germany was seen as a kind of artistic backwater but this era is what began a change in that perception.