My favorite 20th Century composition is Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra. I will finally see it performed live by the Colorado SO in early January!
Of Course Stravinsky cannot be labeled as romantic, both for chronological and (most of all!) musicological reasons.
But you know, I've always found Le Sacre Du Printemps so imaginative, descriptive and so full of pathos that it somewhat reminds me of the romantic way of making music and arts.
So... When you tell me "20th century", I think Schoenberg, Bernstein, Gershwin... Stravinsky comes among the latest in the stream... Though it's always been one of my favs!
Agree on Strauss, though I've never read that book.
Stravinsky deserves another analysis, since he brought so much innovations to the very way of composing music.
The fact is that according to my taste (I don't know whether this is the right word in English: I'd say according to my feelings, literally... You may help me with that), Stravinsky completely leaves the 19th Century from a musical point of view; yet his feelings, themes, concepts, whatever you want to call those, are still Romantic.
I mean... What's more tipically Romantic than the reissue of a Pagan Rite?
On the other side, what could be more tipically "20th centur-ist" than the doubts of Bernstein's Candide, or than the randomness of Schoenberg's music?
So... Could we say that Stravinsky was a 20th century composer with romantic feelings, or a romantic mindset?
My two cents.
It depends... To make an example, A Survivor from Warsaw by Shoenberg is extremely emotional, and most of all, it could NOT have been put into music in any other way.
Here I was just focusing on the topics, or literary topoi, if you prefer... As each artistic age has its own ones.
On the other hand, I'm trying to remember the composer of a concert I attended few years ago... A contemporary string quartet, my God, I got so bored that at some point I started to think I was having a nightmare...
I couldn't tell what was worse, the jarring notes or those dressed-up old ladies pretending they were enjoying it...
My second fave piece
Boulez ,Le marteau sans maître
Birtwistle, Earth Dances
Just off the top of my head from the more extreme end of the 20th century.
But anything from Stravinsky and Prokofiev, the 2 truly great composers from the start of the 20th century. (Strauss accepted)
Benjamin Britten, deserves a mention too