by Idil Biret
Preceding a new Millennium, the 20th century was a time of agitation, intolerance and extreme restlessness. In this environment the understanding and the purpose of art also changed. Music became, as with the other art forms, a field for very diversified experiments and it was seen necessary to produce a “new” sound. The roots of these experiments go back to the compositions of Wagner and Liszt whose visionary work in the 19th Century greatly inspired the modern era. This quest led ultimately to a break away from the tonal system. In this new environment there was an almost total absence of tolerance for the composers who were guided by their inspiration to work on the basis of the traditional tonal system. A composer like Rachmaninov who continued to use the more traditional post-romantic style was no longer understood or respected by many of his colleagues.