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Music: Classical  
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Interestingly, he is also the first documented case of "gay-bashing" amongst composers in that the reviews his works received went from raves to scathing denunciations once the allegation of homosexuality became known. Perhaps for this reason, he has been a particular favorite among gay men, who have particularly embraced the Pathétique Symphony as a musical sketch of unrequited homosexual love.

Best known for his Carnival of the Animals and Third Symphony ("The Organ"), Saint-Saëns was a very prolific composer and mentor to some of the next generation of composers, including Gabriel Fauré, André Messager, and Eugène Gigout. Self-identified as a pederast, Saint-Saëns spent a great deal of time in North Africa, both to fulfill his desire for Arab boys and to absorb musical inspiration from the exotic locales.

Other lesser known composers of the late Romantic period also thought to be homosexual include Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947), a Frenchman writing miniature pieces and songs; Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), revealed in a close reading of her letters and diaries in conjunction with her compositions; Ernest Chausson (1855-1899), best known for his Poème de l'amour et de la mer; and Modeste Mussorgsky (1839-1881) of Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain fame.

Many of Smyth's compositions, including her Songs of Sunrise, were probably inspired by her passion for militant suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst.

Even Edward Elgar (1857-1934), heterosexually married and stalwart Roman Catholic, best known in the United States for his Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, which is frequently used at commencement ceremonies, is thought by some to have had a homosexual affair with August Jaeger, the dedicatee of the Nimrod variation (no. 9) of the "Enigma" Variations.

The Twentieth Century to the Present

The common musical language recognizable from the Renaissance to the early part of the twentieth century (also known as "Common Practice") was stretched to breaking and dissolution by the end of World War I.

New ideas about dissonance and its emancipation (that is, freeing dissonance from its traditional, circumscribed roles) were championed especially by the expatriate Viennese composer Arnold Schoenberg. These ideas led to freely atonal works and twelve-tone (or dodecaphonic) music, but also opened the door for other experiments in classical music, including the incorporation of jazz and non-Western musical forms and instruments.

Gay and lesbian musicians, who are more easily identified in this period than in earlier ones, have been at the forefront of twentieth-century music. A short list of the great composers of the century who were gay would necessarily include such giants as Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) and Aaron Copland (1900-1990), plus a number of others both well known and beloved, including Karol Szymanowski, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti, Francis Poulenc, Manuel de Falla, Virgil Thomson, and David Diamond. Similarly, many celebrated gay performers and conductors were active in twentieth-century music.Some closely related fields, such as ballet and modern dance, as well as opera, are also heavily populated by gay and lesbian artists.

Several famous lesbian salons, including those associated with Natalie Barney (1876-1972), Gertude Stein (1874-1946), and the Princess de Polignac (1865-1943), emphasized classical music, among other arts. Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), perhaps the greatest composition teacher of the century, not only frequented these circles, but numbered among her students such talented (and gay) composers as Copland, Gian Carlo Menotti (b. 1911), Ned Rorem (b. 1923), and Virgil Thomson (1896-1989).

Gay men and lesbians have also often been among the most experimental of musicians in the experimental twentieth century. For example, Francis Poulenc (1899-1963), Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964), and Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) incorporated jazz rhythms, chords, instruments, and melodic coloration into the classical language.

Others, such as Copland, Thomson, Manuel de Falla (1876-1946), and Henry Cowell (1897-1965) explored the richness of folk music and dance traditions, expanding their musical idiom to include often modal or quartal and quintal (based on fourths and fifths instead of thirds) harmonies.

Gay composer Lou Harrison (1917-2003) introduced new instruments and Eastern influences such as gamelan into the common language.

Other gay composers worked mostly in opera, including Samuel Barber (1910-1981), Gian Carlo Menotti, Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), and Hans Werner Henze (b. 1926). Composers such as Blitzstein and Bernstein often blurred the distinction between operatic music and more popular musical theater, a practice in which they were followed by David Del Tredici (b. 1937) and the most successful of musical theater composers, Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930).

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