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Contents

Music in the Early Twentieth Century

WHAT THEN?

Chapter:
CHAPTER 1 Reaching (for) Limits
Source:
MUSIC IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

The ultimate failure of maximalism as a means of renewal, however great or valuable its products, was implicit in its very premises. Eventually limits are discovered. The maximalist boundary for symphonies (according to the authority in such matters, the Guinness Book of World Records) was set by the English composer Havergal Brian (1876–1972). His Symphony no. 2 (later renumbered as no. 1), the “Gothic,” completed in 1927, lasts somewhere over 100 minutes and requires 55 brass instruments in four antiphonal bands; 31 woodwinds; six kettle-drummers playing 22 drums; additional percussion including wind machine, thunder machine, and rattling chains; four vocal soloists; four large mixed choruses; a children’s chorus; and an organ. The last movement is an oratorio in itself—a complete setting of the Te Deum, the Christian hymn of victory. It was not performed until 1961, when the composer was eighty-five, and has had only two performances since then, which already suggests one of the pitfalls of maximalism.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 1 Reaching (for) Limits." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2018. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-001010.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 1 Reaching (for) Limits. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Early Twentieth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 10 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-001010.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 1 Reaching (for) Limits." In Music in the Early Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 10 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-001010.xml
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