This page lists the recordings, plus a few videos, of works assigned for each class session. When this course was taught during the Fall 2006 term, some recordings were different; the recordings below aim for a balance between being of the highest quality and being in print for purchase today.

Amazon Partnership and Music Samples

Help support MIT OpenCourseWare by shopping at! Partnering with, MIT OCW offers direct links to purchase and listen to sample tracks of the music cited in this MIT course. Click on the music titles and purchase the CD from, and MIT OCW will receive up to 10% of all purchases you make. Your support will enable MIT to continue offering open access to MIT courses.

Samples of many selections are available via the Amazon links. Click on a recording title and scroll down the Amazon page to access the samples.


Part 1: European Music Before WWII

(Composers and ideas which gained in importance before 1939 or at least 1945. Some works studied will be from as late as 1956 but in "older" styles.)



Antecedents and the State of Music, 1899. The "Long Nineteenth Century." 1900-1960: the big questions.

Listening done in class - this week only:

Dvořák, A. Symphony No. 9 in E-minor, Op. 95 ("From the New World") (1893), mvmt. 1. New York Philharmonic, Bernstein. Sony Classical, 1992.

Strauss, R. Don Quixote, Op. 35 (1897). Themes and variations 1-2. Boston Symphony, Ma, Ozawa. Sony, 1990.

Wagner, R. Tristan Und Isolde (1859). "Prelude." Bayreuther Festspiele Orchester. Deutsche Grammophon, 1997.

Joplin, Scott. "Maple Leaf Rag." (1899). Joshua Rifkin, piano. Ragtime: Music of Scott Joplin. Angel, 2005.

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor ("From the New World")

Strauss: Don Quixote (arranged for piano, four hands)

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag
2 Stravinsky Throws Down the Gauntlet

Stravinsky, Igor. Petrushka (1911); Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) (1913). New York Philharmonic, Bernstein. Sony Classical, 1993.
[Notes: In Petrushka, focus on Tableaux 1-2: esp. The Shrovetide Fair and Petrushka's Room (~14'). In Le Sacre du Printemps, listen to the complete work (~ 30'); focus especially on the introduction and Augurs of Spring (2nd section; a.k.a. "Dance of the Young Girls").]

Stravinsky: Petrushka

Stravinksy: Le Sacre du Printemps
3 Bartok

Bartók, Béla. Mikrokosmos, Book 2, no. 50 (Minuetto), (1926, 1932-1939). György Sándor. Bela Bartok: Mikrokosmos. Sony Classical, 1993.

———. String Quartet No. 4 (1928). Mvmt. 1. Juilliard Quartet. Bartok: The Six String Quartets. Sony Classical, 1997.

———. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (1936). Mvmt. 3. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Solti. Bartok: The Orchestral Masterpieces. Decca, 2002.

Ravel, Maurice. Ma mère l'oye (1911-12): "Laideronnette, Impératrice des Pagodes," and "Les entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête." Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Dutoit. Ravel: Bolero [et al]. Decca, 1999.

Bartok: Mikrokosmos

Ravel: Ma mère l'oye
4 German Music between the Wars (And a Little Before and After...)

Hindemith, Paul. Symphony in B-flat for Band (1956). Cincinnati Wind Symphony, Eugene Corporon. Klavier, 1995.
[Focus on mvmt. 1 but listen to all three at least once to see how they use material from mvmt. 1.]

Weill, Kurt, and Bertolt Brecht. Kölner Rundfunkorchester, Latham-König. Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny) (1929 based on material from 1927). Capriccio CD, 1988. Opening scenes (1-6) and "God Comes to Mahagonny" (scene 19).

DVD: ———. Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny). From the Salzburg Festival, 1998. Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna/Davies and Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor/Maczewski. Kultur Video, 2001.

5 The Second Viennese School: Tonality and Atonality

Late modern Schoenberg:

Schoenberg, A. Verklärte Nacht (1899). New York Philharmonic, Boulez. Die glückliche Hand [et al.] Sony, 1993.

Atonality without process:

———. Six little piano pieces, Op. 19, nos. 2 and 6 (1911). Mitsuko Uchida, piano. Schoenberg: Piano Concerto. Phillips, 2001.

———. "Nacht." (no. 8) from Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 (1912). Lucy Shelton, soprano. Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire. Bridge, 1992.

Webern, Anton. Fünf Sätze (Five Movements) for String Quartet, Op. 5, movements 1 & 4. (1909). Juilliard Quartet. Webern: Complete Works. Sony, 1991.

Berg, Alban. Wozzeck, Act I, first scene, and Act III, scene 3. (1917-1922). Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra; Ingo Metzmacher, conductor. EMI/Angel, 2002.

DVD: ———. Wozzeck. Frankfurt Opera. Kultur Video, 2003.

Schoenberg: Six Little Piano Pieces

Webern: Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5
6 The Second Viennese School: Twelve-Tone Tonality

Schoenberg, Arnold. String Quartet No. 4, Op. 37 (1936), 1st mvmt. Arnold Schoenberg 2: String Quartets 1-4. Disques Montaigne, 1994.

Webern, Anton. Symphonie, Op. 21 (1929) (for nine instruments). Members of London Symphony Orchestra, Boulez. Webern: Complete Works. Sony, 1991.

Webern: Symphony Op. 21

Neoclassicism and Stravinsky (ca. 1920-1952)

First Unit Ttest

Prokofiev, Sergei. Symphony no. 1 ("Classical"), Op. 25 (1917). Mvmt. 1. New York Philharmonic, Bernstein. Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5. Sony Classical, 1993.

Stravinsky, Igor. Symphony of Psalms (1930). Mvmt 1. Berliner Philharmoniker, Boulez. Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms; Symphony in Three Movements. Deutsche Grammophon, 1999.

Stravinsky, Igor. The Rake's Progress (1951). Act II scene 1. Royal Philharmonic, Stravinsky. Sony Classical SM2K 46299, 1991.

DVD: ———. The Rake's Progress. Glyndebourne Opera. Arthaus Musik, 2005.

Part 2: American Music Before WWII
8 Introduction; Antecedents

Sousa, John Philip. Washington Post March (1889). Sousa Marches played by the Sousa Band. Crystal Records, 2000.

Beach, Amy. Grand Mass in E-flat major, Op. 5 (1890). "Gloria." Barbara Schramm, Daniel Beckwith, Paul Rogers. Newport Classical, 1989.

Chadwick, George. Symphonic Sketches (1895-1904). Mvmts. 2 ("Noël") and 4 ("A vagrom ballad"). National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Kuchar. Naxos, 2005.

Beach: Mass in E-Flat
9 Charles Ives

Ives, Charles. "General William Booth Enters Heaven." (Song 1914, rev. 1933). Steven Blier, piano, and William Sharp, baritone. Charles Ives: Songs, vol. 3. Albany Records, 1995.

———. Three Places in New England (1929, from movements dating as far back as 1915). Mvmts. I and II. Cleveland Orchestra, von Dohnányi. Ives: Three Places in New England; Ruggles: Sun-treader. London/Decca, 1995.

———. Second Piano Sonata ("Concord, Mass. 1840-60") (1916-19; rev. from 1920-40). Mvmt. 3 "The Alcotts" and mvmt. 4 "Thoreau." Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano. Ives: Concord Sonata; Songs. Warner Classical, 2004.

10 Ruth Crawford Seeger and Other American Modernists

Seeger, Ruth Crawford. String Quartet (1931); Ricercare 2: "Chinaman, laundryman" (1932); Piano Study in Mixed Accents (1930). Schoenberg Ensemble, Lucy Shelton. Ruth Crawford Seeger: Portrait. Deutsche Grammophon, 1997.

Ruggles, Carl. Sun-Treader (1926-1931). Cleveland Orchestra, von Dohnányi. Ives: Three Places in New England; Ruggles: Sun-treader. London/Decca, 1995.

11 The "Art-Scientists": Cowell, Antheil, Varese

Cowell, Henry. Piano works (mostly 1917-1925): "The Tides of Manaunaun," "The Aeolian Harp," "The Banshee," and "Fabric." Chris Brown, Sorrel Hays, piano. New Music - Piano Compositions By Henry Cowell. New Albion, 1999.

Antheil, George. Ballet Mécanique (1925).
Version 1 : Ballet mécanique and other works for player pianos, percussion, and electronics. University of Massaschusetts - Lowell Percussion Ensemble. EMF, 2000. [A newer recording with Disklaviers etc.]
Version 2 : Ballet Mécanique: Digital recreation of the Carnegie Hall Concert of 1927. Music Masters Classics, 1995. [A more traditional recording.]

Varèse, Edgard. Ionisation (1931). ASKO Ensemble. Varese: The Complete Works. London/Decca, 1998.

12 Still, Gershwin (And Bernstein)

Still, William Grant. Afro-American Symphony (1930). Mvmts. 1 and 3. Chicago Sinfonietta, Freeman. African Heritage Symphonic Series, Vol. 1. Cedille Records, 2000.

Gershwin, George. Rhapsody in Blue (1924):
Version 1: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bernstein. Leonard Bernstein: The Americans. Deutsche Grammophon, 2004. [Orchestral/Grofé.]
Version 2: Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Louis Lortie, piano. Bernstein: West Side Story; Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue. Chandos, 1993. [Original small band arrangement.]

Bernstein, Leonard. West Side Story. MGM DVD, 1961.

13 Aaron Copland (Guest Lecture)

Copland, Aaron. Piano Variations (1930). Gil Kalish, piano. Copland: Sextet; Piano variations; Piano quartet. Elektra/Nonesuch, 1987.

———. Appalachian Spring (1944).
Version 1 (chamber): Columbia Chamber Ensemble, Copland. A Copland Celebration, Vol. 1: Famous orchestral and chamber works. Sony, 2000.
Version 2 (orchestral): Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bernstein. Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Copland: Appalachian Spring; Barber: Adagio. Deutsche Grammophon, 1985.


Virgil Thomson

Second Unit Test

Thomson, Virgil, and Gertrude Stein. "Pigeons on the Grass, Alas." Orchestra of Our Time. Four Saints in Three Acts (1928; orch, 1933; fp. 1934), excerpts: Act I, Scene 1; Act 2, Elektra/Nonesuch, 1982.
Part 3: Music During and After WWII
15 The Continued Tonal Tradition I: Britten and Barber

Britten, Benjamin. Peter Grimes (1945). Act III. Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Colin Davis. Philips Classics, 1999.

DVD: ———. Peter Grimes, Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Colin Davis. Kultur Video, 2003.

Barber, Samuel. Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (1947). Dawn Upshaw, Orchestra of St. Luke's. Elektra/Nonesuch, 1990.

16 The Continued Tonal Tradition II: Shostakovich

Shostakovich, Dmitri. Symphony No. 7 in C major ("Leningrad"), Op. 60 (1941). Mvmt 1. Chicago Symphony, Bernstein. Shostakovich: Symphonies 1 & 7. Deutsche Grammophon, 1989.

———. String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 (1960). Kronos Quartet. Black Angels. Elektra/Nonesuch, 1990.

17 Oliver Messiaen

Messiaen, Oliver. Quartet for the End of Time (1942), mvmts. 1, 3, 6, and 8. Yordanoff, Tetard, Desurmont, and Barenboim. Deutsche Grammophon, 1999.

———. Quatre études de rhythme (1949). Mvmt. 2: Mode de valeurs et d'intensités. Gloria Cheng, piano. Messiaen: Petites Esquisses d'Oiseaux [etc.]. Koch International, 1994.

———. Oiseaux exotiques (1959). Peter Donohoe, piano; Netherlands Wind Ensemble. Messiaen: Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum [etc.]. Chandos, 1994.

18 Total Serialism 1: Babbitt and Stockhausen

Babbitt, Milton. Three Compositions for Piano (1947). Robert Taub, piano. Babbit: Piano Works. Harmonia Mundi, 1986

———. Composition for Four Instruments (1948). 33 1/3 rpm LP. Composers Recording CRI 138, 195.

Stockhausen, Kreuzspiel (1951, rev. 1959). Stockhausen-Verlag CD, 1991.

19 Serialism 2: Nono and Stravinsky

Nono, Luigi. Il canto sospeso (1956). Mvmts. 2, 6, 7, and 9. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Abbado. Sony Classical, 1993.

Stravinsky, Igor. Agon (1957). London Symphony Orchestra, Thomas. Stravinsky In America. RCA Red Seal, 1997.

———. Elegy for J.F.K. (1964). Cathy Berberian, mezzo-soprano. Igor Stravinsky: The Recorded Legacy. Sony Classical, 1991.

20 Boulez, Carter and the Legacy of Serial Aesthetic

Boulez, Pierre. Le Marteau sans maître (pour voix d'alto et 6 instruments) (1958). Mvmts. 1-3. Hillary Summers, mezzo-soprano; Ensemble intercontemporain. Boulez Conducts Boulez. Deutsche Grammophon, 2005.

Carter, Elliot. String Quartet No. 2 (1959). Juilliard String Quartet. The Four String Quartets. Sony Classical, 1991.

———. Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Kalish, Jacobs. Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano (1961). Elektra/Nonesuch, 1992.

21 Electronic Music

Stockhausen, Karlheinz. Gesang der Jünglinge (1956). Stockhausen-Verlag CD 3.

Varèse, Edgard. Poeme électronique (1958). OHM: the early gurus of electronic music, 1948-1980. Ellipsis Arts, 2000.

Babbitt, Milton. Philomel (1964). Bethany Beardslee, soprano. New World Records, 1995.

22 Cage and Aleatory

Mozart, W. A. (1756-1791), Musikalisches Würfelspiel (Musical Dice game).

Cage, John. In a landscape (for piano) (1948). Works for piano & prepared piano, Vol. 1. Wergo, 1993.

———. Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano (1948). Sonatas 1-4, Interlude 1. Maro Ajemian, piano. CRI, 1995.

———. TV Köln (for piano) (1958). Works for piano & prepared piano, Vol. 2. Wergo, 1993.

———. Music of Changes book 1 (piano) (1951). Martine Joste, piano.The Works for Piano, Vol. 6. Mode, 2005.

———. Imaginary Landscape No. 4 for 12 radios (1951). Will You Give Me to Tell You? Norway Music, 2003.

———. 4'33" (1956). Amalinda Percussion Group. Hungaroton, 1993.


Aleatory 2: Open Form, New York School and Fluxus

Bring Instruments Today!

Stockhausen, K. "Klavierstück XI." Herbert Henck, piano. Klavierstück I-XI. (1956). Wergo, 1993.

Wolff, Christian. Burdocks (1971). Other Minds Ensemble. Tzadik, 2001.

Feldman, Morton. Straits of Magellan (1961). Music Before Revolution. Ensemble Musica Negativa. 33 1/3 rpm LP. Odeon, 1972. [Although this recording is out of print, multiple versions are available on iTunes®.]

———. De Kooning (1963). Feldman: For Frank O'Hara; Bass Clarinet & Percussion; De Kooning (1963). New Millenium Ensemble. Koch International, 2000.

[For further listening: Fluxus composers: La Monte Young (Compositions 1960); Nam June Paik, Allison Knowles, Dick Higgins, Yoko Ono]

24 Nancarrow and Partch: Two American Originals

Nancarrow, Conlon. Studies for Player Piano. Nos. 4, 14, 21 (Canon X), 25 (1950s and early 60s). Wergo, 2000.

Partch, Harry. The Wayward: IV. Barstow (1941 rev. 1954/1968). Gate 5 Ensemble of the World. The Harry Partch Collection, Vol. 2. New World Records, 2004.

———. Delusion of the Fury (1969). VHS videocassette. American Composers Forum/Innova Recordings 404, 1997.

Third Unit Test