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A Schoenberg Reader

A Schoenberg Reader: Documents of a Life

Joseph Auner
Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 460
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  • Book Info
    A Schoenberg Reader
    Book Description:

    Arnold Schoenberg's close involvement with many of the principal developments of twentieth-century music, most importantly the break with tonality and the creation of twelve-tone composition, generated controversy from the time of his earliest works to the present day. This authoritative new collection of Schoenberg's essays, letters, literary writings, musical sketches, paintings, and drawings offers fresh insights into the composer's life, work, and thought.The documents, many previously unpublished or untranslated, reveal the relationships between various aspects of Schoenberg's activities in composition, music theory, criticism, painting, performance, and teaching. They also show the significance of events in his personal and family life, his evolving Jewish identity, his political concerns, and his close interactions with such figures as Gustav and Alma Mahler, Alban Berg, Wassily Kandinsky, and Thomas Mann. Extensive commentary by Joseph Auner places the documents and materials in context and traces important themes throughout Schoenberg's career from turn-of-century Vienna to Weimar Berlin to nineteen-fifties Los Angeles.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12712-6
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xxiv)

    Arnold Schoenberg and his music have been objects of celebration, controversy, and vilification for more than a century, from the time of his first performances to the present day. Not surprisingly, in accounts of his life and works by both his champions and his critics the adjectiveSchoenbergianhas come to mean so many things as to be almost meaningless. Schoenberg has been interpreted variously as the standard-bearer of a revolutionary modernism, the guardian of the evolutionary path of musical tradition, a reactionary Romantic who did not realize the implications of his own discoveries, an isolated and misunderstood prophet, the...

  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  6. 1 Early Years in Vienna and Berlin: 1874–1906
    (pp. 1-49)

    Arnold Schoenberg, composer, teacher of musical composition.

    Professoremeritusof Music at the University of California at Los Angeles.

    Residence: 116 N. Rockingham Avenue, Los Angeles 24, California.

    Date and Place of Birth: Vienna (Austria), September 13, 1874.

    Parents: Samuel Schoenberg (d. 1890) Pauline Nachod (d. 1921).

    Education: Volkschule and Realschule in Vienna.

    In music at first autodidact; later 1895/96 studied with Alexander von Zemlinsky.

    Married first [in 1901] to Mathilde von Zemlinsky (died 1923); children, Gertrud Greissle (1902), Georg Schoenberg (1906)

    1924: second marriage: Gertrud Kolisch (1898); children: Dorothea Nuria (1932), Rudolf Ronald (1937), Lawrence Adam (1941).

    Started composing...

  7. 2 ‘‘Air from Another Planet’’: Vienna, 1906–1911
    (pp. 50-97)

    TheKammersymphonie,composed in 1906, is the last work of my first period which consists of only one uninterrupted movement. It still has a certain similarity with my First String Quartet Op. 7, which also combines the four types of movements of the sonata form and in some respect with the symphonic poems “Verklärte Nacht” Op. 4 and “Pelléas and Mélisande” Op. 5, which, disregarding the conventional order of the movements, bring about types resembling the contrasting effect of independent movements. Opus 9 differs from the preceding works, however, in its duration. While Opus 4 lasts about 30 minutes, Opus 5 and Opus 7 last 45 minutes, Opus 9 lasts around 22 to 25 minutes....

  8. 3 ‘‘War Clouds’’: Berlin and Vienna, 1911–1918
    (pp. 98-147)

    Dear Sir,

    please excuse that I am only today answering your letter, which brought me so much pleasure. I have been so preoccupied with my move to Berlin that I didn’t get around to it.

    I am currently under contract to Universal Edition and therefore cannot yet freely dispose of my works. But I do have hopes of getting some works released. First, because Universal Edition must decide by the end of December which works to acquire of those now available to them. Second, so many works are in question, some of which are substantial, that I myself scarcely think...

  9. 4 ‘‘The Path to the New Music’’: Mödling, 1918–1925
    (pp. 148-190)

    Yes, what is the influence of the war on composition?

    Perhaps at first: is there an influence at all?

    During a war the muses are silent

    at least on the battlefield


    in the hinterland?

    Today there are no horses anymore eager to fight at the sound of trumpets


    tanks, motorcars, cannons, are immune to these exciting sounds.

    One might try loudspeakers so as not to endanger the trumpeters.

    In 1914 Austrian troops marched against the Russian armies, preceded—for a brief moment—by the regimental band; unfortunately for a brief moment only—the Russian cannons proved too strong....

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  11. 5 Prussian Academy of the Arts: Berlin, 1926–1933
    (pp. 191-242)

    One can only be accepted into the master class who

    1. has the intention and the aptitude to be a composer as his main occupation, and

    2. has completely learned everything of the craft (theory of harmony, counterpoint, theory of form, instrumentation) either in a school, privately, or through independent study, and is in a position to present samples of his talent and his ability in the form of completed works;

    3. as an exception, he who has not fully completed the above-mentioned studies—to the extent that the submitted works give evidence of an unusual talent and that the...

  12. 6 ‘‘Driven into Paradise’’: Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, 1933–1943
    (pp. 243-298)

    We are faced with facts that most of you—not I—would probably have called fantastic only a short while ago. We are faced with fantastic necessities

    and that means making decisions that one would normally consider fantastic.

    November 3, 1933

    “Jewish Internationalism”

    is a product of necessity; arises from the Diaspora; would never have come to be without this; must be fought under all circumstances.

    Faith in the power of internationalism is harmful in every respect.

    I. It lulls the Jews into a sense of security, although they are in danger.

    II. This very security-superstition prevents the Jews from obtaining another security for themselves; the only one that there can be for a people: its own state....

  13. 7 Final Years: Los Angeles, 1944–1951
    (pp. 299-352)

    I want at first to mention one of my colleagues who really always had been very friendly and faithful to me, though—from the viewpoint of most other colleagues—he should rather have been jealous of me. Because in spite of his great success with his operas, and though he was not a follower of my developments, he had always shown some true personal appreciation of me.

    It isFranz Schreker.

    He himself was a thorough musician with an excellent background and great technical ability. In fact, I had also much and real appreciation of his art. It was a...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 353-384)
  15. Bibliography of Sources
    (pp. 385-396)
  16. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 397-410)
  17. Index
    (pp. 411-428)