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The Great War
with Linda Kobler

This Milestones of the Millennium feature focuses on The Great War and its impact on modern musical expression. Musicologist Linda Kobler joins Performance Today host Martin Goldsmith to explore how World War I coincided with dramatic upheavals in music. We begin the journey before the war, a more innocent time when monarchs ruled Europe and the great romantics commanded music. Kobler notes that even in peacetime, the nationalistic fervor that helped usher in the war was evident in many compositions. "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1" by British composer Edward Elgar provides one such example.

Kobler and Martin explore some of the music composed during World War One. One of French composer Maurice Ravel's most important works was a tribute to friends he lost during the war, for example. Many technological breakthroughs were concurrent with the "first modern war", and these also had a large impact on the future of modern music. Kobler quotes composer Claude Debussy, who said, "the century of airplanes needs to have its own music." These sentiments typify the era's movement away from the romanticism of the past.

After the war, the types of music composed multiplied: the Germans were experimenting with 12-tone scales and America was finding ragtime and jazz. Other works that Kobler discusses include the German opera "Wozzeck" by Alban Berg as well as music that swings: the final minutes of "Krazy Kat" by American composer John Alden Carpenter.

Hear Linda Kobler and Performance Today host Martin Goldsmith discuss this pivotal period in music. Note: music parts have been edited from the commentary because of internet rights issues. "The Great War" is the fifth installment of PT's new Milestones of the Millenium series.

In conjunction with Performance Today's Milestones of the Millennium series, a companion CD series is available from Sony Classical™.

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