Various Artists

Masters of the Modern Age, Vol. 1: Music from the Time of Degas, Cezanne, and Van Gogh

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Music and painting are often linked, not merely in appreciation courses, but also in the biographies of musicians and artists. To illustrate this correspondence, Naxos' Masters of the Modern Age I surveys the music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries by associating the music of certain composers with three famous artists, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, and Paul Cézanne. The musical connections are based on pronounced characteristics of these artists and their work, so van Gogh's isolation and loneliness is reflected in subdued music by his contemporaries, Wagner, Liszt, Lalo, Franck, Chabrier, and Mahler; Degas' engagement with society and affinity for the dance are evoked in ballet music by Adam, Alkan, Gounod, Délibes, Bizet, Fauré, Chabrier, Debussy, and Stravinsky; and Cézanne's retiring nature is represented in Romantic and impressionistic selections by Berlioz, Bizet, Chabrier, Duparc, Fauré, Boëllmann, Satie, Debussy, Vierne, and Ravel. The lives of these artists overlapped, so there is some recurrence of composers' names, yet there is no duplication of works. Hugh Griffith provided the informative liner notes that describe the milieu in which these artists worked, and each disc has a chronology placing key moments in the artists' lives with the musical highlights of their time.

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