Influences | Jazz | Modern Era | Classical
The influence of jazz on concert music stretches back almost to the emergence of jazz itself from roots in gospel, ragtime and blues. One of the most popular black American dances of the 1890s was taken up by Debussy in his ‘Golliwog’s Cakewalk’ (from the piano suite Children’s Corner, 1906–08). Ragtime found its way into Satie’s ballet Parade and works by Stravinsky (notably Piano Rag Music, 1919). Ravel, for his part, adopted blues melodic inflections in his Violin Sonata (1923–27) and Piano Concerto in G (1929–31). Milhaud’s ballet La création du monde (1923) offers perhaps the most thoroughgoing assimilation of early jazz: both its instrumentation and the quasi-improvised woodwind solos over blues harmonic progressions successfully mimic the authentic Harlem sound. Jazz also featured regularly in German instrumental and stage works (those of Hindemith, Ernst Krenek, 1900–91, and Weill especially) until outlawed as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis. Among practitioners of the new idioms, Gershwin made forays into concert music with his Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and Piano Concerto in F (1925), while others contented themselves with commissioning works: in addition to Bartók’s chamber work Contrasts (1938), the clarinettist Benny Goodman elicited concertos from Hindemith (1947) and Copland (1947–48).
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