2this complexity with regard to historical realities, it is preferable not to pretend to construct ageneralized ideal type but rather to adopt an open form of presentation that allows adescription of the individual traits of neoclassicism.Neoclassicism in music could not be based on direct reference to the practices of Graeco-Roman antiquity, as in the fine arts and literature of the period. Before and after theFirst World War, however, subjects related to classical antiquity wer1 very frequently chosenfor musical setting. This is unmistakable testimony to a break with the nineteenth century: theenthusiasm for themes from classical antiquity in operas, oratorios, and ballets reflected anti-psychological tendencies in drama that corresponded to the paring away of musicalexpression. In this process a central significance was taken on by the eighteenth century. Onthe one hand, the ancient world was often envisaged as reflected in the French classicalperiod, which was itself a form of classicism (as in Ravel's
Daphnis et Chloé
). On the otherhand, as represented by the early Viennese classics, the eighteenth century offered a plethoraof possibilities for neoclassicism m its endeavour to break with Romanticism. In some instancesthis amounted to no more than returning to the ideas and, musical style of the eighteenthcentury; in other instances, what was foregrounded was a concern for a modern vision of theantique that emphasized the unfamiliar. Never, however, did the post Romantic classicism of the twentieth century take the same form as the pre-Romantic classicism of the eighteenth.The ideal of aesthetic simplicity on which Erik Satie´s
-was based, for instance, wasquite different from the `edle Einfalt und stille Grö3e' ('noble simplicity and tranquilgreatness') that the eighteenth-century art historian J. J. Winkelmann saw as essential toGreek art.
was grounded in the nineteenth-century Greek Revival style- the basis of Satie's unsophisticated reverence for the Greeks - and[261262 HERMANN DANUSERIn the `simplicité' that Jean Cocteau in 1918 made the ideal of a post-Romantic and post-impressionist aesthetic.
Satie became important for the neoclassicism of the 1920s far less through thethematic return to Ancient Greece than through the objectifying tendency of his musiquedépouillée (stripped-down music),
which set aside the artistic pretensions of music in order torenounce the aesthetic principal of expression. This was most immediately obvious when thistendency found expression in what Kolisch (referring to Stravinsky) called `music aboutmusic'
; an example is Satie's Clementi parody, the
for piano (1917).Though a relationship with the ancient was neither aesthetically determinative norof primesignificance in what was produced, however, it was none the less a force in music history. Andit is in the work of Stravinsky that this is particularly apparent: in his middle period - from theopera-oratorio
(1927) to the `mélodrame'
(1934), and from the ballet
(1948)a preference for ancient themes was theexpression of a neoclassical aesthetic in music.With respect to the many and varied ways in which neoclassicism had recourse toearlier music, a first question arises with regard to its relationship with historicism. Thanks tohistoricism, musical plurilingualism had long since emerged to replace the `bilingualism of European composers' (to use the expression coined by Heinrich Besseler to describe the
Le coq et l'arlequin notes autour de la musique
, Paris,1979, pp. 43ff.
René Chalupt, 'Quelques souvenirs sur Erik Satie',
La revue musicale
214(1952), pp 39-46; p. 45-
See Theodor Adorno,
Philosophy of Modern Music
(tr. Anne G. Mitchell and Wesley V.Blomster),London,1987,p. 182.