Sunday, 20 November 2011

Lonesome Schoenberg's New World

"How Schoenberg became Lonely" by the biographer of his American years, Sabine Feisst. "Far from being isolated or alone, he in fact never failed to attract supporters in Europe and America, and scored substantial successes on both continents. Schoenberg’s penchant for the rhetoric of loneliness expressed something deeper than pessimism; it worked along with his unfailing ethical idealism to fuel his fighting spirit, which was the engine of his productivity, creativity, and teaching activities in both Europe and America".

Feisst's book, Schoenberg's New World (OUP, 2011) is an antidote to the demonization of Schoenberg currently fashionable in some circles, as if  "disappearing"  Schoenberg might somehow magic music back into the 19th century. Rumours are that some want him banned in LA of all places. Feisst demonstrates how integral Schoenberg was to the development of American music as well as European. Myths are made when people rehash the same old stories. A historian's job is to analyse how things come to be known. Please also see this clip of Schoenberg conducting Mahler in LA as early as 1934.

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