Schoenberg and Redemption

Schoenberg and Redemption

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Schoenberg and Redemption presents a new way of understanding Schoenberg's step into atonality in 1908. Reconsidering his threshold and early atonal works, as well as his theoretical writings and a range of previously unexplored archival documents, Julie Brown argues that Schoenberg's revolutionary step was in part a response to Wagner's negative charges concerning the Jewish influence on German music. In 1898 and especially 1908 Schoenberg's Jewish identity came into confrontation with his commitment to Wagnerian modernism to provide an impetus to his radical innovations. While acknowledging the broader turn-of-the-century Viennese context, Brown draws special attention to continuities between Schoenberg's work and that of Viennese moral philosopher Otto Weininger, himself an ideological Wagnerian. She also considers the afterlife of the composer's ideological position when, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the concept of redeeming German culture of its Jewish elements took a very different turn.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 b/w illus. 3 music examples
  • 1139048937
  • 9781139048934

Review quote

'This book reopens the subject of Jewish culture in the life and work of the twentieth-century classical composer Arnold Schoenberg ... [it] draws on the writings of Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger, providing a welcome reintroduction of his work into musicological research. Above all, the author shows a remarkable ability to negotiate the shifting sands of Schoenberg's thought in an authoritative manner, not an easy task ... this stimulating book should be available to all who are interested in European culture ...' M. Dineen, Choice '... Schoenberg and Redemption offers important evidence with highly believable postulations ... this is an important book that deserves a wide readership ...' Michael Haas, Times Literary Supplement 'Julie Brown's Schoenberg and Redemption newly testifies to the power of a composer's self-expressive prose ... Bringing to light two previously [understudied] writings of Schoenberg, Julie Brown presents an absorbing view of his turn to atonality ... Brown records a history of Schoenberg's modernist invention, and in the process, adds to Wagner's legacy too.' Victoria Aschheim, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
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Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Schoenberg, history, trauma?; 2. Schoenberg as Christ; 3. Otto Weininger, Richard Wagner and musical discourse in turn-of-the-century Vienna; 4. Schoenberg and Wagnerian Deutschtum; 5. Compositional innovation and the redemption of Ahasuerus; 6. Woman and the symbolism of self-redemption; 7. Re-reading Schoenberg's Musical Idea; 8. Coda: changing history into memory; Appendix. 'Every young Jew'.
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