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Exhibitions in Paris and Vienna Put Arnold Schoenberg's Creative and Personal Life in Perspective.

Last autumn, Anthony Tommasini, the chief classical music critic for The New York Times, published a lengthy article on the state of contemporary classical music. Beginning with its title, the article interrogated the perennial question haunting classical music for at least half a century: "Just Why Does New Music Need Champions?" After appraising the relatively productive moment of creativity and expansion that the American classical scene currently finds itself in, the article went on to lament the obvious fact that large "swaths of the audience [of classical music] are fixated on the old and wary of the new."

Seeking the agent responsible for this rupture between serious composition and it's popular reception, Tommasini somewhat predictably blamed the Jewish Viennese composer and virtuoso innovator Arnold Schoenberg, who called into question harmony and created the twelve-tone technique. The "well-intentioned but problematic venture that Arnold Schoenberg initiated in Vienna now seems a turning point," Tommasini wrote. "Along with his devoted students Alban Berg and Anton Webern, Schoenberg was the leader of what came to be known as the Second Viennese School. This movement explored new harmonic languages that broke radically from major-minor tonality. In the early 1920's, Schoenberg pushed beyond atonality to invent the 12-tone technique. Much of this music was received by critics and the public with open hostility."

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Author:Davidzon, Vladislav
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Apr 25, 2017
Words:234
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