View Poll Results: I see Schoenberg as:

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46. You may not vote on this poll
  • a bogeyman of classical music

    6 13.04%
  • a Messiah of classical music

    6 13.04%
  • as both

    2 4.35%
  • as neither

    25 54.35%
  • I don't care

    7 15.22%
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Thread: Schoenberg: Bogeyman or Messiah of classical music?. . .

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Default Schoenberg: Bogeyman or Messiah of classical music?. . .

    Since the What is the point of Atonal music? thread has become a discussion around these issues (& they come up a lot here!) I decided to do this separate thread on it.

    Semantic games aside, Bogeyman can mean a negative influence by Schoenberg on classical music, Messiah can mean a positive one. Those choosing the former may kind of see him as Devil incarnate, those choosing the latter as a God. These are the more polarised positions.

    The Both option is an in between (maybe compromise or middle ground position?) one, and Neither I think is self explanatory. Don't Care is for those who obviously don't care about this issue, they don't give much thought to it, or maybe even to Schoenberg or his music (so its kind of a neutral position).

    I put my basic positions in this post and this one on the above thread.

    The aim of this thread is less about dogma and more about just your opinion. A controversial issue, yes, but its no excuse for judging others for their opinions. The aim is honest and open discussion/debate. Thus, its a public poll. For 'guidance' other than the rules of the forum, the quote by M.K. Gandhi in my footer below may be of use.
    Last edited by Sid James; Oct-24-2012 at 03:38.
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    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "When reason and instinct are reconciled, there will be no higher appeal" - Rameau.

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  2. #2
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    I'd say neither. In my opinion, he was the next logical step in the Germanic/Viennese tradition. But he was the first to "breathe the air of another planet."

  3. #3
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    A better thread title might have been: "Schoenberg: Threat or Menace?"
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  4. #4
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    Neither. Just a great composer, a brilliant artist. I think he had many brilliant and progressive ideas, but he was far from being the only composer around that time to have very revolutionary ideas about music.
    Last edited by BurningDesire; Oct-24-2012 at 02:51.

  5. #5
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    He is definitely the bogeyman, lurking there at the edge of the 20th century, frightening people away from exploring further. I approached Schoenberg with much trepidation when first listening to classical music. This terrible monster destroying tonality and making everything ugly, so I was quite confused when I listened to him, it was quite nice and it didn't sound worlds away from other popular classical.

    Messiaen is clearly the Messiah, prophesied in the book of Handel come to redeem the organ in the 20th century and teach us the language of birds.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    A note that I edited my opening post - got the negative/positive descriptions totally wrong before.
    Last edited by Sid James; Oct-24-2012 at 03:35.
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "When reason and instinct are reconciled, there will be no higher appeal" - Rameau.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Why is it that detractors of Schoenberg see him as "destroying" tonality? It's not like tonality and harmonic music "died," because, after all, that would mean we wouldn't have had The Beatles (Revolution No.9 excepted, of course). That would have been a real shame.

    Tonality will always exist, and the larger umbrella of "harmonic music" will always exist, as long as people have ears and can suck milk instinctively (you can swallow, can't you?).

    Bogeyman? Yes, most definitely! He embodies the fears and insecurities of those who fear the demise of the visceral, instinctive blanket-woobie of tonality. After all, what else could we listen to in the grocery store while purchasing cat food and coffee? It's all tonal. Tonality is as ubiquitous as God, as prevalent as Man's ego, as natural as having babies, as profitable as war. It has been, and always will be, forever and ever. Amen.

    Now, I'm going to run a bath and listen to some Webern. Ahhhh...
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Oct-24-2012 at 05:38.
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    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

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  8. #8
    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    I'd say neither. In my opinion, he was the next logical step in the Germanic/Viennese tradition. But he was the first to "breathe the air of another planet."
    ^I love that piece
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  9. #9
    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurningDesire View Post
    Neither. Just a great composer, a brilliant artist. I think he had many brilliant and progressive ideas, but he was far from being the only composer around that time to have very revolutionary ideas about music.
    Word ...............
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  10. #10
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    He embodies the fears and insecurities of those who fear the demise of the visceral, instinctive blanket-woobie of tonality
    Sigh...

  11. #11
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    I refuse to vote; these simple dichotomies are harmful.
    Last edited by brianwalker; Oct-24-2012 at 11:13.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianwalker View Post
    I refuse to vote; these simple dichotomies are harmful.
    I tried hard not to make the poll a dichotomy. If it was a dichotomy, I would have settled with giving the first two options only.

    [BTW, when I quoted your post, there was another long paragraph, but I am not addressing that cos I think you must have deleted it].
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    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "When reason and instinct are reconciled, there will be no higher appeal" - Rameau.

    Avatar image: The Laundress by Honoré Daumier, 1860's.

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    I think if the latest thing you've heard were Parsifal, and then you jumped right into Schoenberg's variations for orchestra, you'd probably think Schoenberg was an evil destroyer of music.

    But if you traced Schoenberg's path, from his romantic Transfigured Night, to the super dense (yet still tonal) Pelleas and Melisande, to the probing atonality of his op. 11, and finally to his twelve-tone pieces, I think you'd be able to appreciate Schoenberg's journey and the evolution of his style.

    At least I can't see any point at which he broke with tradition of revolutionized music. Instead, he carefully took it further and further, with each step of the way.
    "If your opinion is as rude as your manner, I don't think I care to hear it." - Lisa Carol Fremont

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    I think if the latest thing you've heard were Parsifal, and then you jumped right into Schoenberg's variations for orchestra, you'd probably think Schoenberg was an evil destroyer of music.

    But if you traced Schoenberg's path, from his romantic Transfigured Night, to the super dense (yet still tonal) Pelleas and Melisande, to the probing atonality of his op. 11, and finally to his twelve-tone pieces, I think you'd be able to appreciate Schoenberg's journey and the evolution of his style.

    At least I can't see any point at which he broke with tradition of revolutionized music. Instead, he carefully took it further and further, with each step of the way.
    He took it carefully in the wrong direction. Tristan und Isolde was a successful experiment in a very limited direction which is why towards the later part of his life Wagner turned away from the pervasive chromaticism and ambiguity of Tristan.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Petwhac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    After all, what else could we listen to in the grocery store while purchasing cat food and coffee?
    Exactly right. Just the other day while purchasing some turnips at the supermarket I was pleasantly surprised to hear Messiaen's Turangalila, Adam's Harmonielehre, Britten's Serenade and Arc-En-Ciel from Ligeti's Etudes, all before I'd got around to the Wet Wipes.

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Now, I'm going to run a bath and listen to some Webern. Ahhhh...
    Perhaps for you the sound of running water helps with the appreciation of Webern. I would find it a distraction. Unfortunately you may have got through his complete works and still not have a full bath.
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