A Schoenberg Reader: Documents of a Life

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Music - 460 pages
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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The documents, many previously unpublished or untranslated, reveal the relationships between various aspects of Schoenberg’s activities in composition, music theory, criticism, painting, performance,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.

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Vienna 19061911
Berlin and Vienna 19111918
Mödling 19181925
Illustrations follow page 162
Berlin 19261933
Boston New York and Los Angeles 19331943
Los Angeles 19441951
Bibliography of Sources
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2008)

Joseph Auner is Chair and Professor of Music at Tufts University.

An American of Austrian birth, Arnold Schoenberg composed initially in a highly developed romantic style but eventually turned to painting and expressionism. At first he was influenced by Richard Wagner and tried to write in a Wagnerian style. He attracted the attention of Alban Berg and Anton von Webern, with whom he created a new compositional method based on using all 12 half-steps in each octave as an organizing principle, the so-called 12-tone technique. His importance to the development of twentieth-century music is incredible, but the music he composed using this new method is not easily accessible to most concertgoers.

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