Finding harmony in 20th-century music

Finding harmony in 20th-century music

From Quick Hits by Phil Lawler | May 29, 2017

On a happier note, Mercatornet recently carried a fascinating interview with my old friend Robert Reilly on 20th-century music. Reilly readily acknowledges the ugliness of much atonal music, and traces that problem to its philosophical underpinnings:

Much of modern philosophy denied that there is any such thing as natural law or an inbuilt order in nature. This is a logical consequence of the so-called death of God. This spilled over into the arts, including music.

But he goes on to tour the “largely undiscovered country” of 20th-century music that does not fall into that philosophical trap, and offers some recommendations. Read the interview, and prepare to spend some time listening to YouTube recordings to see whether you agree.

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4 comments on “Finding harmony in 20th-century music

  1. Although Robert Reilly does not include Igor Stravinsky among his recommendations of “20th-century music that does not fall into that philosophical trap” in the interview reference above, he has expressed his admiration for Starvinsky elsewhere (Google “Robert Reilly” and “Igor Starvinsky”).

    In a recent comment to an AQ post ( ), I also expressed a similar admiration for Stravinsky specifically his Mass, a neo-Classic setting of the Latin Ordinary. I gained that appreciation from a back-to-back performance of the Mass, first at a Saturday night concert by the chorus of a local men’s college (now co-ed) and a visiting chorus from a women’s college (also now co-ed) and then at a Sunday morning Mass by the same choirs at a local Catholic parish where the director of the men’s college chorus was also the director of the parish mens-and-boys choir (including faculty and students members from the college). The concert had only a piano accompaniment, but the Mass had a powerful pipe-organ accompaniment.

  2. Prokofiev produced some powerful stage compositions despite the atonal craze. I can only point to the one work I am familiar with and only because my daughter performed in this ballet with a major company some years back. Live, the music and visuals were utterly compelling.

  3. The hyper link in the article is not working. To read the article go to:

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