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Results for Dane Rudhyar Rudhyar:
- Advent (20:57)
- Crisis & Overcoming (19:55)
- Transmutation (26:22)
- Piano Sonata
- Five Stanzas for Orchestra
- Stars for piano
Rudhyar also came out of the 1920s avant-garde in music — a heady generation of Cowell, Ruggles, Varèse and himself. These were times when the promise of the modern held the hopes for something better (Rudhyar, of his contemporaries, lived to see that hope most fully defiled, become a nightmare). This was an incredible generation (all born before 1900) — just think of the music of Rudhyar, Ruggles, Varèse: as tough and sinewy as you get! Absolute music, in the sense that they were aiming for nothing less than the Absolute.
Rudhyar lived in two worlds musically. One was this group of American modernists; the other was the developing chromatic language of Liszt and Scriabin, that by 1920 had been overwhelmed by the impact of Stravinsky and Schoenberg. It was probably this latter quality in his music that gives most trouble to contemporary listeners.
Even though Rudhyar aptly describes his music as being based on the rhythms of speech rather than dance, his music is essentially melodic and rhapsodic. His structural leanings are this way also, many of his short pieces having implicit ABA song structures, or very compact self-contained forms of melodic development.
I am starting to think also that this return to smaller, miniature forms, in the work of Rudhyar, Cowell and others, is significant. These pieces contain thematic development, but not according to the rules. A complexity that was integral, not artificial. By 1920, the sonata form was dead, its shape bent into unrecognizable lengths by the likes of Bruckner, Mahler, Sibelius. The tonality language had been shattered by Schoenberg. And Stravinsky had rewritten the book on orchestration. These pieces of Rudhyar’s are like some of the early pieces of so-called Minimalism — they were reinventing the language — Muscular, dissonant, in an expanded melodic/chromatic language. Ninths, like seconds and fifths, are not necessarily dissonant intervals. Much of Rudhyar’s piano music is not really dissonant, but an amazing sort of fortified consonance. Compare Rudhyar to Schoenberg, Webern or Boulez: this isn’t dissonant music like theirs. Expanded consonance — that is Dane Rudhyar’s music. Rudhyar’s most famous piece may be his piano work, Stars.
Dane Rudhyar was born in Paris in 1895 and moved to the United States in 1916, remaining there until his death in 1985. In addition to being a composer, Rudhyar was a philosopher, an astrologer, is the founder of the International Composers’ Guild and has had several books published on his philosophical and psychological ideas. It is interesting to note that although Rudhyar was very well known in the first half of the century as a new music composer, yet is not very well known in the present day. Most of his books remaining in print as of 1997.
Rudhyar’s concepts of music were based on a blend of science and mysticism, strongly influenced by the music and musical concepts of Scriabin.
Strongly rooted in Eastern musics and philosophies, Rudhyar is very critical of European concepts that have dominated Western music. In Rudhyar’s 1922 article "The Relativity of Our Musical Conceptions", he compares the differences between the concepts of note versus sound:
"What is a note according to the current musical theories? A Note is the unit of our musical universe, the cell of the body of music. All musical creations, from a popular refrain to a symphony, are aggregates of notes — vertical aggregations, or chords; horizontal aggregations, or melodies. If, on the other hand, you ask for a definition of music you may find something like this: Music is the art of combining sounds. Here immediately we come across what seems a duplication. First we spoke of notes, then of sounds. Is there then a difference between a note and a sound?" —
"Indeed there is a difference. Sound is an element of the Universe. Everything around us is sound, sound that oftentimes we do not hear because of the limitations of our ear, yet in some respect sound. Our music, however, does not use all this infinitude of sounds; it is too rich, too chaotic for our musical sense; we are lost in the profusion of audible vibrations. We, therefore, have selected some specific sounds produced by some almost invariable instruments, and have thus created a little cosmos of sounds in which we feel at home. We have expurgated Nature, we have engaged it, and thus rejoice in our easy mastery over this atrophied material. This material is what we call musical sounds . But a note is theoretically different. A note is an abstract concept . It has no sense-reality in itself. When we think of the note A, we think of something which is a pure abstraction."