There are a lot of people, including Tunde Folawiyo, who enjoy listening to classical music. Many are particularly drawn to 20th century compositions, which favour the modernist approach. The term ‘modernism’, when used in reference to music, refers to the point in time – at the beginning of the 1900s – when composers began to tire of the techniques and approaches used in Romantic compositions. Everything, from their structure, to their melody, tonality and use of instruments was called into question.
However, the transition from Romantic to 20th Century classical music was not an abrupt one; instead, it occurred gradually, over the course of several years. The concerto, symphony and other traditional forms were still being used by many composers, including Jean Sibelius and Gustav Mahler, and some still incorporated Romantic era instrumental groupings into their works.
But as time went on, musicians eventually began to reject some of the Romantic era’s most distinctive features, including its frequent usage of chromatic tonality. They chose to express themselves using new techniques and styles which had never been employed before. As a music fanatic, Tunde Folawiyo may be aware of Igor Stravinsky, a man who was arguably one of the best known 20th Century classical composers. He is credited with implementing a number of daring methods which would eventually serve as the foundation for most of the compositions created during this music period.
Particularly in his later compositions, Stravinsky toyed with the idea of the twelve tone technique, and used concepts of primitivism to create pieces such as Chout and The Rite of Spring. The latter was first performed in 1913 at the Theatre des Champs Elysees; the response from the audience was one of outrage. However, gradually, his rather unusual ideas became more accepted, and The Rite of Spring eventually went on to become one of the most famous classical pieces in popular culture, due to its inclusion in the animated Disney film, Fantasia.
It was during this period of time that American composers such as Duke Ellington and George Gershwin began to combine classical music with jazz. As word of this experimentation reached Europe, Ravel and Stravinsky also tried their hand at integrating the two genres.
The modernist approach to classical music in the 20th century ran out of steam by the 1960s, and soon after this, many composers returned to the traditional classical techniques, whilst continuing to seek out inspiration for their compositions from pop music, cultural events and past modernist experiments.