“The End of the Renaissance?”!
American mavericks dramatically transformed the musical world in the twentieth century. The end of the Renaissance was heralded not by the serialists or the free atonalists that defined an avant-garde style after World War II, but by a group of experimentalists who rejected the premises upon which the very definition of art music was based. Yet what may be the turning point toward a new musical culture occurred on November 13, 1940, when Walt Disney premiered Fantasia, a film that became the subject of debate in the classical music establishment and whose implications were explored by the mavericks such as Edgard Varèse, Harry Partch, and John Cage. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the visual was exploited by most popular music acts in different ways. Concerts themselves always had and continue to have a strong visual element. In the 1990s, a new phenomenon emerged: the formation of classical ensembles based on visual appeal. The visual element is most prominent in opera.
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