twentieth-century music


‘Alte Musik’ or ‘Early Music’?



An attempt to distinguish between ‘alte Musik’, as German musicians used to conceive it, and ‘early music’, as is now the common phrase in English, provides a new – and perhaps better – lens through which to view the old historical schisms of twentieth-century music. The recourse that musical innovators have always had to ancient precedents, as inspiration and as validation, has many variations, and these variations are reliable reflectors of aesthetic attitudes.

Richard Taruskin holds the Class of 1995 Chair of Music at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of, among other books, Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance (Oxford University Press, 1995), Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions (University of California Press, 1996), Defining Russia Musically (Princeton University Press, 1997), The Oxford History of Western Music (Oxford University Press, 2006), and The Danger of Music (University of California Press, 2009).