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Arnold Schoenberg's Journey

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  36 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
In this text, Allen Shawn puts aside ultimate judgements about Arnold Schoenberg's place in music history to explore the composer's world in a series of linked essays that are searching and suggestive. Approaching Schoenberg primarily from a listener's point of view, Shawn plunges into the details of some of Schoenberg's works while at the same time providing a broad overv ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 30th 2003 by Harvard University Press (first published February 7th 2002)
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Dec 10, 2008 Brett rated it really liked it
If you are brave enough to tackle the music of Arnold Schoenberg, then there is no reason not to have a helpful guide along the way. Schoenberg is an unlucky composer in that his full oeuvre can be appreciated only after a significant investment from his audience. Usually, those without the will power give up. But Allen Shawn takes us on a very personal and enthusiastic journey through Schoenberg's life, giving the push some of us need to get our brain around the difficult bits of his Art. Many ...more
Jan 24, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in 20th century music
Rereading this book takes me back to the summer of 2007 when I first read it. As then I enjoyed every moment of its readable and eve witty text. The author discusses Schoenberg's music and life together in a way that makes them both vivid and informative. He analyzes the music in detail, leaving the reader with an appreciation for the revolutionary impact of Schoenberg's passionate musical genius.

Along the way the cultural environment of the composer is explored and you learn about composers wh
Jun 30, 2008 Ed rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Schoenbergians, Stravinskyites, serialists, music lovers
Shelves: classical-music
There are several works by Schoenberg amid my CD collection. But there is no work by him that I can claim to like or enjoy very much (save the occassional airing of parts of the Gurrelieder). So he's hardly a composer I can claim to have any interest in. In any event, this book was a good story and a good look at a composer that some consider the most important of the 20th century (I, of course, disagree.) But he had an interesting career.
Jan 21, 2009 Yuval rated it really liked it
A perfect introduction to a very thorny man. I think Allen Shawn is completely right that Shoenberg would be appreciated by more people if he were listened to more "naively," with less of an ear towards theory and more towards the music's effect and emotional life. Shawn's writing is clear and easy to follow, regardless of musical background, and clearly comes from a love for the music and a fascination with the man.
May 21, 2012 Al rated it really liked it
Before he became a best selling memoirist, the composer brother of Wallace, and son of New Yorker William wrote this quirky and sensible musical biography of the 20th century's greatest composer. Next to Glenn Gould, Shawn is the most articulate advocate of Schoenberg's singular importance. There are also some lovely samples of Schoenberg's wall art. Like e.e cummings, he might have enjoyed a successful career in visual art had he never written a line in his other creative language.
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“Zemlinsky, who was to be on the panel of judges, played through the first few for Schoenberg and, finding them “wonderful and truly original,” agreed with him that, regrettably, “precisely on that account they would have little chance of winning the prize.” Schoenberg’s response was not to abandon the project but to expand it.” 0 likes
“During the period when Schoenberg actually hoped to earn an income from the works, forty of his paintings were shown in a small one-man exhibit in Vienna in 1910. Later some of his work was exhibited alongside that of painters such as Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Rousseau, and Egon Schiele. Gustav Mahler anonymously purchased some of these paintings to help support the painter/composer. In” 0 likes
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