Music: The End of a World

Zimmermann 's Die Soldaten writes fine to a stark tradition

The important beginnings in musical history are often easy to identify: the birth of the romantic symphony with Beethoven's Eroica, for example, or the founding of German Romantic opera in Weber's Der Freischütz, or the full flowering of the twelve-tone system with Schoenberg's Op. 25 Piano Suite. Endings, however, are more elusive. When precisely did the Baroque conclude? Did the symphony die with Brahms or Mahler, or is it still a vital form? These are moot questions.

Yet occasionally a work comes along that...

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