Classical Music’s Astonishing Journey During Monet’s Lifetime

January 17, 2020
Public Domain
Music During The Life Of Monet

Claude Monet’s impressionist style of painting helped influence other artists, including composers. So let’s consider how music evolved during his lifetime. When Monet was born in 1840, it was the era of post-Beethoven Mendelssohn and increasingly dramatic, flowing melodies.  

That morphed into the lush romanticism of Brahms and the new nationalistic sounds from Dvorak. A few decades later, Gustav Mahler introduced unprecedented symphonic spectaculars.  

But a different kind of music began to emerge in Paris during the impressionist period of painters like Monet. Composers Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and others stretched the boundaries of music with new experimental harmonies and rhythms. 

And by the time Monet died in 1926,  concert goers were already used to another revolution. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky had set his music to a ballet called “Rite of Spring.” Its radical, clashing dissonances and savage rhythms were so upsetting to the audience at the 1913 premiere, it caused a riot. A far cry from Monet's Impressionism, but a sure sign that composers would continue on a groundbreaking path forward.

Monet Mondays airs Mondays through Jan 27, 2020 on CPR Classical at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.. Listen to CPR Classical on your radio at 88.1 FM in Denver, stream the music on this website, or by asking your smart speaker to "Play CPR Classical." (Find other ways to listen.)


For a limited time, if you become a member of Colorado Public Radio, you can select "Music in Monet's Time," as a thank you gift. This custom CD of great Impressionist music was created by CPR Classical in partnership with the Denver Art Museum.

Music in Monet's Time CD

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