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Mahler, Strauss, & Debussy, Essay Example

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Essay

Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy were all late Romantic era modern composers, but they had very different styles. Mahler’s sound is very symphonic and organic in its nature. He incorporated many sound outside of just the orchestra, such as bird calls and cow-bells and he had a very wide range of musical moods. He could easily shift from very high and happy. He could easily shift from very high and happy to a doom and gloom low base feeling. Strauss like Mahler is considered to be one of the last German Romantics. He combined different sublets of orchestration with advanced harmonic sound. Strauss’s style is melodic and everything one would expect from a late-Romantic in that it’s harmonic, lush and it has an immense orchestration that is very loud and impactful. This is similar to Beethoven. Both composer in fact have this in common. Where Mahler is much more experimental than Strauss, they both embrace the large orchestra driven sound of the era that made them who they were. The works they produced that demonstrate this orchestral sound are Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (Ealy, 1994) . The difference Debussy has with these two men is like night and day. Despite the fact that he stems originally from the late-Romantic era, he originated his own genre of music. Now work better defines Debussy, as well as impressionism in music than Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun.  His work was by its very nature more intimate and less focused on orchestration while at the same time composed of many collective chords. While these chords were distinguishable he sound was much more fluid then than the other two composer due to a deeper focus on transition of sequences (Ealy, 1994).

Work Cited

Ealy, George Thomas (Spring 1994). “Of Ear Trumpets and a Resonance Plate: Early Hearing Aids and Beethoven’s Hearing Perception”. 19th-Century Music Vol. 17 (No. 3): pp. 262–273.

Milton Cross, David Ewen, The Milton Cross New Encyclopedia of the Great Composers and Their Music, Doubleday 1953 p79 ChiltonB

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