THE FOUR AGES OF MUSIC by Walter Wiora

THE FOUR AGES OF MUSIC

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like a symphony, the course of music history takes shape in four `movements.'"" From this position Walter Wiora proceeds to reconstruct and investigate that course from 25,000 B.C., when the Stone Age, hunting civilizations performed their mimetic dances in animal masks (there must have been a musical accompaniment) to the present era, when man has realized himself in his music as homo faber. Between these far reaches come the high cultures of antiquity and the Orient--Sumerian, Egyptian (""the temple has taken the place of the cave"" for a musical setting), Greek and Roman, Jewish and Christian, Indian, Chinese; Western music from the early Middle Ages, special in its development of trends and traits, and for its infiltration around the world. The spread of Western music over the globe and the building of a universal musical culture has occurred in the present technical and industrial age. Yet a paradox exists: while science has made all music accessible to everyone, composers are working in an idiom accessible to few. Mr. Wiora, after this quick but enriching trip through music history, leaves the reader on this note, hoping for the best.

Publisher: Norton