二十世纪是音乐史上乐种风格最多元也最歧异、纷杂的一百年，同时它也是音乐史上音乐品味变化最快，快到让许多人无法适应的年代。二十世纪承接了十九世纪绵亙了将近百年的浪漫乐风，也同时拥抱了开始於十九世纪末，延续到二十世纪初的印象乐派；在这同时，现代乐派也早已在十九世纪最后十年间萌芽，由史特拉汶斯基和荀白克等人率先发难，推翻西方音乐先前三百年的美学基础，将规律的节奏、和谐的合声全都拋到脑后，标榜著真正属於工业时代，扬弃啟蒙时代以来所崇尚的单一美学标準。 这样古今并陈的年代，有拉赫曼尼诺夫、艾尔加、罗德利果这样以旋律动听，和声迷人的标準创作的作曲家；也有向工业和敲击取材的普罗高菲夫、以及向东方音乐借镜的德布西、拉威尔；延著这个发展，在法国很快地在二零年代就出现新一波的反动势力，一群以推翻印象派和声为理念的作曲家，自称「法国六人组」出现了，但随著二次世界大战来到，欧洲旧有的美学信念被粉碎，战后新一代作曲家拥抱新的科技和工业文明，迎接了另一种新声音，德国、法国和义大利不再是出产作曲家的主要国家，音乐核心国的地位旁落，由苏联、波罗的海三小国、波兰、美国等国训练的作曲家开始在国际乐坛闯出名声，卢托史拉夫斯基、葛瑞兹基、佩尔特、武满彻、顾拜杜琳娜、亚当斯、柯普兰、葛拉斯、 盖西文等人纷纷出线，共同编织了二十世纪繁复多样的音乐样貌。 100 BEST 20th CENTURY CLASSICS is another release in EMI’s highly successful 100 BEST series. This 6 CD set covers many of the most popular works composed between 1900 and 1999, as well as representative pieces by composers who broadened the concept of classical music during that period and those who pushed its boundaries to the limits. CD 1: The Last of the Romantics The first disc opens with an extract from Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto, written in 1901. This is followed by favourite works by Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Falla, Holst, Elgar and Vaughan Williams, all of which look back to the romantic style of the 19th century. The disc also includes part of the slow movement of the most successful concerto written during the 20th century, the Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo. CD 2: Innovators The composers on this disc include some who broke new ground in tonality and form at the beginning of the century, such as Stravinsky and the Second Viennese school of Webern, Berg and Schoenberg, and others who continued to use the more traditional methods of composition but who wrote in a more advanced style such as Bartók, Britten, Hindemith and Walton. CD 3: Brave New World The works heard here range across the incredible proliferation of musical language during the last 50 years, from hard-edged modernism to chilled-out minimalism, religiously inspired and otherwise, and include pieces by the older generation of composers like Messiaen, Henze, Lutoslawski and Takemitsu, as well as more recent compositions by Turnage, Tavener, Gubaidulina, Adès and Knussen. CD 4: America The large and prolific school of American composers active during the 20th century is represented by some extremely popular pieces like Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, as well as more adventurous works by Ives, Cage, Reich, Carter and Adams. CD 5: Instrumental and Chamber This CD presents a number of popular pieces for piano, violin and guitar by Falla, Scriabin, Kreisler, Pärt and Villa-Lobos, followed by chamber works such as Schoenbeg’s Verklärte Nacht, Schnittke’s Menuet and Ravel’s String Quartet. CD 6: Choral and Vocal The final disc begins with one of the 20th century’s most successful choral works, Orff’s Carmina Burana. This is followed by extracts from other choral pieces by Boulez, Pärt, Tavener, Rutter and McCartney as well as vocal compositions by Rachmaninov, Berio and Lloyd Webber. The set concludes with three romantic operatic arias by Korngold and Puccini, ending with a spectacular performance of ‘Nessun dorma’ from Puccini’s final opera, Turandot.