FROM TRADITIONAL TO AVANT-GARDE: ART AND MUSIC AROUND 1900
Joel Scott, a well known Albuquerque musician and Julius Kaplan, a retired professor of art history held forth at our April 2016 salon at the home of Bobbie Weinbaum.
Until the latter part of the 1800s art and music mostly followed set standards. For art it was the realistic portrayal of the outside world with near photographic accuracy. For music, it was compositions that followed standards of form and tonal characteristics. Joel Scott showed how the standards were left behind as new forms and tonal patterns emerged. His comments and the excerpts he played including Stravinsky, Debussy and Webern demonstrated his points. Prof. Kaplan followed showing the parallel path that visual art took with its dramatic transition from realism to impressionism, postimpressionism, cubism and finally to non-objective art with examples by Picasso, Kandinsky and Malevich.
What was most intriguing was Prof. Kaplan’s explanation of his view of why art and even music experienced this significant transition. Until the mid-1800s life seemed simpler, standards were seldom challenged. But as belief systems began to be challenged, for example Einstein’s theory of relativity shattering the Newtonian world, and Freud bringing new ways to view the human psyche, it was no longer so easy to take things for granted, to have a pat answer or a secure understanding of life around us. Art turned to expressing not the outside world as much as the internal feelings of humanity. A non objective art form seemed more appropriate to express these intimate feelings. Music broke free as well to explore new ways to reach the human soul.
Much discussion and interaction occurred with those attending which provided a true salon environment. We all left still considering what we heard and continuing to absorb the points made during the presentations.