Expressionism in Music, Part 1



This 2-part video explores the history of Expressionism, an artistic movement of the early twentieth century that attempted to capture raw (and often disturbing) emotions through art.

Expressionism began in Germany and Austria in the very late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it tried to capture psychological and social anxieties and fears during a time of massive change. It was a time when the life experience of humans was changing, and it changed faster than it had ever changed before (and faster than has ever since). In just a few decades, we learned to fly, to communicate through telephone and radio, to mechanize warfare and engage in global conflicts, to build and drive automobiles, etc.

Part 1:
Part 2: [link will be added soon!]

Soprano Eva Peng is the owner of the Bellus Music Studio ( and pianist Anthony Olson is Professor of Music at Northwest Missouri State University (

Recorded at our home in the spring of 2021.

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RECOMMENDED READING

MUSICAL EXAMPLES
Gentle Giant, The House, The Street, The Room:
Schoenberg, Pierrot Lunaire:
Schoenberg, A Survivor from Warsaw:
Berg, Wozzeck:
Webern, 5 Pieces for Orchestra:

SCORES

SOURCES
Expressionism, in Oxford Music Online (Grove Music):
Arnold Schoenberg, in Oxford Music Online (Grove Music):
Arnold Schoenberg Center:
Alban Berg, in Oxford Music Online (Grove Music):
Anton Webern, in Oxford Music Online (Grove Music):
The Second Viennese School, in Oxford Music Online (Grove Music),
Sara M. Paar, Between Speech & Song: Clarifying the Sprechstimme of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire (doctoral dissertation):
Metropolitan Opera:
Caroline Crampton, Shell-shock symphony: Berg’s Wozzeck – opera’s take on post-traumatic stress disorder:

Source: Youtube