Schoenberg's Twelve-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical Idea (Music since 1900)

Schoenberg's Twelve-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical Idea (Music since 1900)

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Jack Boss
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Illustrated, 10/2/2014
EAN 9781107046863, ISBN10: 1107046866

Hardcover, 463 pages, 25.4 x 20.3 x 2.5 cm
Language: English

Jack Boss takes a unique approach to analyzing Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone music, adapting the composer's notion of a 'musical idea' - problem, elaboration, solution - as a framework and focusing on the large-scale coherence of the whole piece. The book begins by defining 'musical idea' as a large, overarching process involving conflict between musical elements or situations, elaboration of that conflict, and resolution, and examines how such conflicts often involve symmetrical pitch and interval shapes that are obscured in some way. Containing close analytical readings of a large number of Schoenberg's key twelve-tone works, including Moses und Aron, the Suite for Piano Op. 25, the Fourth Quartet, and the String Trio, the study provides the reader with a clearer understanding of this still-controversial, challenging, but vitally important modernist composer.

1. Musical idea and symmetrical ideal
2. Suite for Piano, Op. 25
varieties of idea in Schoenberg's earliest twelve-tone music
3. Woodwind Quintet, Op. 26
the twelve-tone idea reanimates a large musical form
4. Three Satires, Op. 28, #3
the earliest example of the 'symmetrical ideal' in a (more or less) completely combinatorial context
5. Piano Piece, Op. 33a
the 'symmetrical ideal' conflicts with and is reconciled to row order
6. Fourth String Quartet, Op. 37, mvt. I
two motives give rise to contrasting row forms, meters, textures and tonalities (and are reconciled) within a large sonata form
7. Moses und Aron
an incomplete musical idea represents an unresolved conflict between communicating with God using word or image
8. String Trio, Op. 45
a musical idea (and a near-death experience) is expressed as a conflict between alternative row forms.