Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Atonality

According to Alex Ross, today marks the centenary of Atonality. I am not sure what to make of such an anniversary, with all the post-Schoenberg complications that the system wrought, and the weird, lonely place it put composers--starting with Schoenberg, who titled his explanatory essay about this technique "How One Becomes Lonely." On the one hand, this type of thinking forced composers to certain choices. All had to wrestle with the new math, and some did by willfully ignoring it (I think of Ned Rorem's label "Serial Killers") while others not only embraced it but cranked it up a notch or ten. Depending on who you asked, Schoenberg was a savior, or he was an elephant after whom we are all cleaning up still. His work saved and ruined lives, in a way. I am mixed on the matter, which has always been my personal curse.

But for what it is worth, today is historic for composers. So happy birthday atonality--a hundred years and still controversial.


Anonymous Anton Webern said...

Atonality: the only musical system that alienated audiences from contemporary music by the millions and gave the world so much un-listenable music that we can only hope it's not around in another 100 years.

2:44 PM  

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