All tagged Schoenberg

Like so many other classical music lovers, musicians, and bloggers, I too am impressed by the new book by Alex Ross, “The Rest is Noise”, and am enjoying this perceptive, engaging and big spirited work. But I would like to comment on a suggestion or appraisal made in the book concerning the deep difficulties a listener faces with Schoenbergian atonality — and I don’t dispute for a second that many fair minded listeners have difficulties with Schoenberg and his atonal colleagues and progeny. Schoenberg understood this as well.
I know very well that Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder ends with a magnificent sunrise, dispelling the nightmare shroud of cruel fate and uncontrollable eroticism that had pervaded this hymn to lonliness and lunacy. The piece begins with a superlative prelude depicting twilight; an invitation to the world of the night. Consider the spooky, albeit hysterical world of Verklaerte Nacht, and of course don’t forget Pierrot Lunaire, Pierrot of the moon. And indeed, lunar imagery dominates the work.