Schoenberg's Transformation of Musical Language (Music in the Twentieth Century)

Schoenberg's Transformation of Musical Language (Music in the Twentieth Century)

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Ethan Haimo
Cambridge University Press, 11/9/2006
EAN 9780521865425, ISBN10: 0521865425

Hardcover, 444 pages, 24.4 x 17 x 2.5 cm
Language: English

Arnold Schoenberg is widely regarded as one of the most significant and innovative composers of the twentieth century. It is commonly assumed that Schoenberg's music divides into three periods: tonal, atonal, and serial. It is also assumed that Schoenberg's atonal music made a revolutionary break with the past, particularly in terms of harmonic structure. This book challenges both these popular notions. Haimo argues that Schoenberg's 'atonal' music does not constitute a distinct unified period. He demonstrates that much of the music commonly described as 'atonal' did not make a complete break with prior practices, even in the harmonic realm, but instead transformed the past by a series of incremental changes. An important and influential contribution to the field, Haimo's findings help not only to re-evaluate Schoenberg, but also to re-date much of what has been defined as one of the most crucial turning points in music history.

1. 'Atonality'
a revisionist thesis
2. 'Based on tradition'
Four Songs, Op. 2, 1899
3. The principle of incremental innovation
Verklärte Nacht, 1899
4. Conservative song-cycle, progressive cantata
Gurrelieder, 1900–1911
5. Programmatic music and its implications
Pelleas und Melisande Op. 5, 1902–3
6. Consolidation
Songs, Op. 3, 1903–4
7. Abstract form, secret program
String Quartet, Op. 7, 1904–5
8. Referencial centres? Lieder and Fragments, Fall 1905
9. Absolute music and its consequences
Chamber Symphony, Op. 9, 1905–6
10. Crisis
Friede auf Erden, Op. 13, Ballades, Op. 12, and the reception of Shoenberg's music, August 1906–July 1907
11. Motivic economy
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10, movements one and two, March–December 1907
12. 'Until then I lacked the strength and confidence'
Two Songs, Op. 14, December 1907–March 1908
13. Beyond triads
the first layer of Das Buch der hängenden Gärten, Op. 15, March–April 1908
14. 'On revient toujours?' Returning to Opp. 10 and 15, June 1908–February 1909
15. The analysis of Schoenberg's post–1908 music
Pieces for piano, Op. 11, nos. 1 and 2, February 1909
16. 'Intoxicated by the enthusiasm'
Five Orchestral Pieces, Op. 16
Piece for Piano, Op. 11, No. 3, May–August 1909
17. The birth (and death) of new music
August 1909 and beyond

'... impressive book ... Haimo argues his case compellingly.' Alfred Cramer, Journal of the American Musicological Society