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Thread: BBC4's The Sound and the Fury: A Century of Music

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    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Default BBC4's The Sound and the Fury: A Century of Music

    With apologies to those who can't access BBC4...

    Just watched the 1st episode in this 3 part series (first broadcast in February). I thought it was excellent (at least for the non-specialist enthusiast).

    It aims to explain and exemplify how 'modern' music evolved at the end of the 19th and into the 20th century. It features interviews (some presumably extracts from earlier programmes) with some of the usual commentators, but also with Boulez, Reich, Schoenberg's daughter and Michael Tilson-Thomas. The composers whose contribution to modernism were included:

    Debussy
    Strauss (R)
    Schoenberg
    Stravinsky
    Webern
    Ives
    Gershwin

    The piece I found most affecting was the Ives Piano Sonata (didn't catch which one; it has quotes from Beethoven's 5th in it)

    Whilst, like much compressed TV, it resorted to some shorthand that would have the purists grinding their teeth, I thought it sketched things out pretty well, and made some good connections with the culture and arts of the time (but then would you trust the opinion of someone who didn't know Schoenberg was also a painter!)

    If you have BBC iplayer, it's available to watch til Oct 6.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qqrqm
    Last edited by MacLeod; Sep-28-2013 at 10:33.
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    I got fed up with how loaded the presentation is in less than a minute (but kept watching anyway).

    Edit: It's available on Youtube for non-UK users, but don't tell the BBC!
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Sep-28-2013 at 15:01.

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    It was a really good programme. I saw it in its previous incarnation. Actually showed how wide a spectrum 'modern' music is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    I got fed up with how loaded the presentation is in less than a minute (but kept watching anyway).

    Edit: It's available on Youtube for non-UK users, but don't tell the BBC!
    Loaded? How? It's a genuine question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Loaded? How? It's a genuine question.
    It begins by saying roughly "Classical music was once beautiful and logical, and then all of a sudden Schoenberg came and destroyed that by replacing it with ugliness and chaos". That's just silly on the surface, and false underneath, because it posits first that classical music was once objectively beautiful, and secondly, that it is now objectively ugly.

    It makes it sound like Schoenberg came out of nowhere. Their emphasis on his being mostly self-taught is also part of this. His music evolved directly out of that of his predecessors, Brahms, Strauss, and Mahler. They don't even mention any possible reasons for the rejection of his music and not other "atonal music" like, say, Varese's. In my view it's the motivic and contrapuntal density of these works, not the harmony, that prevents many from finding a way in. Proof? People who don't like Schoenberg's post-1908 works tend not to like the works that immediately preceded them, either, such as the String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, the Chamber Symphony in E, and the first three movements of the String Quartet No. 2 (the first except they played was the scherzo from this work, which is very clearly in D minor). Why have Eric Whitacre tell people about the "beautiful early works" if we don't have the chance to hear any of them (and why rely on Whitacre's opinion of Schoenberg at all)?

    I also take issue with the characterization of Webern's music as "intellectualized". This is certainly the way it was represented when Adams was at school, and the way it may have been looked at by the Darmstadt group, but not the way the composer or those around him saw it. Expressionism was, as stated elsewhere in the documentary, an art of the subconscious above all.

    Timelines are manipulated so that it seems as if Schoenberg was rejected by Strauss and only then began gathering followers, which is wrong. He was respected, not only by Gershwin, but by Stravinsky, whose Petrushka he absolutely loved (it was the later Neoclassical works that he criticized), Mahler, Holst (who bought the score to Schoenberg's Five Orchestral Pieces and took in its influence for the popular Planets suite), Busoni (who made a concert paraphrase of one of the piano pieces played in the documentary), and many others. It also makes it sound as if Ives was aware of musical developments in Europe, which he may or may not have been. We don't know.

    The passing reference to Debussy is odd, because we aren't shown how it connects with the rest of what we're hearing. Stravinsky's Rite depends as much on Debussy's influence as on folk music or Rimsky-Korsakov. Webern loved Debussy, especially the opera Pelleas et Mellisande.

    Overall, it serves to reinforce prejudices and fails to offer anything to explain how most of these developments came about.

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    Thanks for the heads-up, I'll be sure to check this program out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    It begins by saying roughly "Classical music was once beautiful and logical, and then all of a sudden Schoenberg came and destroyed that by replacing it with ugliness and chaos". That's just silly on the surface, and false underneath, because it posits first that classical music was once objectively beautiful, and secondly, that it is now objectively ugly.

    It makes it sound like Schoenberg came out of nowhere. Their emphasis on his being mostly self-taught is also part of this. His music evolved directly out of that of his predecessors, Brahms, Strauss, and Mahler. They don't even mention any possible reasons for the rejection of his music and not other "atonal music" like, say, Varese's. In my view it's the motivic and contrapuntal density of these works, not the harmony, that prevents many from finding a way in. Proof? People who don't like Schoenberg's post-1908 works tend not to like the works that immediately preceded them, either, such as the String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, the Chamber Symphony in E, and the first three movements of the String Quartet No. 2 (the first except they played was the scherzo from this work, which is very clearly in D minor). Why have Eric Whitacre tell people about the "beautiful early works" if we don't have the chance to hear any of them (and why rely on Whitacre's opinion of Schoenberg at all)?

    I also take issue with the characterization of Webern's music as "intellectualized". This is certainly the way it was represented when Adams was at school, and the way it may have been looked at by the Darmstadt group, but not the way the composer or those around him saw it. Expressionism was, as stated elsewhere in the documentary, an art of the subconscious above all.

    Timelines are manipulated so that it seems as if Schoenberg was rejected by Strauss and only then began gathering followers, which is wrong. He was respected, not only by Gershwin, but by Stravinsky, whose Petrushka he absolutely loved (it was the later Neoclassical works that he criticized), Mahler, Holst (who bought the score to Schoenberg's Five Orchestral Pieces and took in its influence for the popular Planets suite), Busoni (who made a concert paraphrase of one of the piano pieces played in the documentary), and many others. It also makes it sound as if Ives was aware of musical developments in Europe, which he may or may not have been. We don't know.

    The passing reference to Debussy is odd, because we aren't shown how it connects with the rest of what we're hearing. Stravinsky's Rite depends as much on Debussy's influence as on folk music or Rimsky-Korsakov. Webern loved Debussy, especially the opera Pelleas et Mellisande.

    Overall, it serves to reinforce prejudices and fails to offer anything to explain how most of these developments came about.
    I don't often disagree with you Mahlerian, but I do so here, quite significantly.

    Pre-prepared by endless battles here about trad v mod, I listened carefully to the language being used to describe the emergence of 'mod'. I think the script took care to use the language of commenters old and new, and quotes from composers themselves to construct a legitimate argument: that what was already moving away from trad rhythms and melodies - eg the passing reference to Debussy - was significantly fractured by those, like Schoenberg, who wanted to make a complete break. Whilst there was inevitably an element of simplification - 30 critical years condensed into 1 hour - I don't think there was a bias towards the conventionally beautiful. It's simply true to say that the break with the past was a deliberate attempt to represent 'the underbelly' of human experience through manipulation of the very forms of expression, instead of within the conventions.

    It seems quite obvious to me that you might choose to represent the ugly in life with the ugly in art. The fact that many since have embraced the ugly and found it beautiful does not negate what the mods were aiming at, and what they were successful at - as far as their reception by the conservatives was.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    I don't often disagree with you Mahlerian, but I do so here, quite significantly.

    Pre-prepared by endless battles here about trad v mod, I listened carefully to the language being used to describe the emergence of 'mod'. I think the script took care to use the language of commenters old and new, and quotes from composers themselves to construct a legitimate argument: that what was already moving away from trad rhythms and melodies - eg the passing reference to Debussy - was significantly fractured by those, like Schoenberg, who wanted to make a complete break.
    But you see, that's the problem. There was no such intent involved. Schoenberg wanted to intensify the language which he had already created out of the past, not divorce himself from it.

    Debussy was the one who is on record as wanting to make a clean break from the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    Whilst there was inevitably an element of simplification - 30 critical years condensed into 1 hour - I don't think there was a bias towards the conventionally beautiful. It's simply true to say that the break with the past was a deliberate attempt to represent 'the underbelly' of human experience through manipulation of the very forms of expression, instead of within the conventions.

    It seems quite obvious to me that you might choose to represent the ugly in life with the ugly in art. The fact that many since have embraced the ugly and found it beautiful does not negate what the mods were aiming at, and what they were successful at - as far as their reception by the conservatives was.
    Of course there is ugliness in the music of Schoenberg, as there is in Beethoven. In both cases it is used for expressive and dramatic effect. There is beauty as well, and intentionally so.

    I find that chord in Salome, the one that they mention in particular, exceedingly ugly. I find the emergence of the soprano in Schoenberg's second quartet exceptionally beautiful, as if the angst and storm of the preceding movements had given way to a calm above the clouds (although the tumult returns in a new form in the central part of the movement).

    Edit: I will admit that before I saw this documentary, I was already conditioned against it by this review.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/t...ur-review.html

    It appears that the documentary reinforced his opinion for the reasons I gave. If one can come away with the idea that Schoenberg "discarded every rule of composition" after watching a program on modern music, then that program is misleading at best.
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Sep-28-2013 at 18:26.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    But you see, that's the problem. There was no such intent involved. Schoenberg wanted to intensify the language which he had already created out of the past, not divorce himself from it.

    Debussy was the one who is on record as wanting to make a clean break from the past.



    Of course there is ugliness in the music of Schoenberg, as there is in Beethoven. In both cases it is used for expressive and dramatic effect. There is beauty as well, and intentionally so.

    I find that chord in Salome, the one that they mention in particular, exceedingly ugly. I find the emergence of the soprano in Schoenberg's second quartet exceptionally beautiful, as if the angst and storm of the preceding movements had given way to a calm above the clouds (although the tumult returns in a new form in the central part of the movement).

    Edit: I will admit that before I saw this documentary, I was already conditioned against it by this review.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/t...ur-review.html

    It appears that the documentary reinforced his opinion for the reasons I gave. If one can come away with the idea that Schoenberg "discarded every rule of composition" after watching a program on modern music, then that program is misleading at best.
    I've just started to watch the programme again. First, I can see that Farndale is not to be trusted. It's as if he's heard only Whitacre's and Adam's words and taken them as the writer's voice, declaring that Schoenberg is ugly. He is wrong. The programme is more skilful than that. Even Alex Ross's own commentary (the series consultant, there seems to be no specific writer) is undercut. For example, he says, of the 8-note dissonance in Salome, something like, "No-one had thought of it before". We then cut back to Debussy, with the narrator telling us, "But the wind of change had been stirring since the end of the 19th C." Benjamin and Moore quite clearly tell us that Debussy wanted to create music for the "century of the motor car". Actually, the sequence is not a passing reference, but a fairly substantial one, I thought, but you're right to correct my interpretation that Debussy wanted evolution and Schoenberg, the clean break. The programme clearly tells us that, citing AS's daughter who repeated that he did not want to break from the past, but evolve, as he must, in reaction to the present.

    The point is that the programme establishes a range of views, from Whitacre and Adams on the one side to Moore and Benjamin on the other. The listener is allowed to piece together what is intended as a history, viewed from different perspectives, not a subjective appreciation of 'atonality' or 'Schoenberg'.

    The disadvantage to the viewer, is that we have to take on trust the biographical and historical detail that is relied upon to explain that Schoenberg was an angry man, and its all too easy to attach motives - his wife's infidelity, his Jewishness in the face of anti-semitism - to his music: that he wrote "ugly music" to express his "ugly society". Yet what this does is to point out, if rather sketchily, that the artists of the modern period were just as prone to expressing personal emotion as they are grand political statement.

    By the way, the narrator points out in the 2nd violin concerto that the atonality comes after the female vocal. (I'd need to listen to hear whether that is a correct analysis). That means you can certainly find her part 'beautiful' without the analysis of the piece being undermined.

    On the appreciation of Schoenberg by Strauss - Strauss had produced an opera whose main focus was the "scandalous" story and its 'outrageous' author, Wilde and with, apparently, much less controversial musical content - is it really just the one 8 note dissonance? If so, you can see that Strauss was not interested in the intellectual approach to musical evolution espoused by AS, just in the shock of that moment. Ross quotes a letter which clearly suggests that Strauss did not approve of what AS was doing. Is Ross wrong?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    If you have BBC iplayer, it's available to watch til Oct 6.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qqrqm
    Sorry, my error - only available to Oct 4, though if you can download it, you can have until Oct 29th!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    The point is that the programme establishes a range of views, from Whitacre and Adams on the one side to Moore and Benjamin on the other. The listener is allowed to piece together what is intended as a history, viewed from different perspectives, not a subjective appreciation of 'atonality' or 'Schoenberg'.
    True, and we have Boulez as well saying that the music of the 20th century would not have happened the way it did without him. But all the same, the narrator is presenting us with a particular interpretation that seems to agree with the former rather than the latter, that this music is inherently alienating its audience and intentionally devoid of everything anyone who likes music would recognize. In the context of the program, Boulez's comment almost seems to have a negative tint on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    The disadvantage to the viewer, is that we have to take on trust the biographical and historical detail that is relied upon to explain that Schoenberg was an angry man, and its all too easy to attach motives - his wife's infidelity, his Jewishness in the face of anti-semitism - to his music: that he wrote "ugly music" to express his "ugly society". Yet what this does is to point out, if rather sketchily, that the artists of the modern period were just as prone to expressing personal emotion as they are grand political statement.
    Well, it's easy enough to attribute his movement from his early style to his later to a combination of self-confidence, assured technique, and mounting rejection. He had already begun to compose more or less in the "freely atonal" style before marital difficulties arose at all, although the songs in question were not performed or published until later.

    And I agree that much of the angularity of his style (one of the commentators, probably Benjamin, referred to his "brittle" sound, and I agree with that) is motivated by defiance and anger. I just don't agree that the intent or result in all cases was ugly. I really believe that Beethoven makes a good analogue here.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    By the way, the narrator points out in the 2nd violin concerto that the atonality comes after the female vocal. (I'd need to listen to hear whether that is a correct analysis). That means you can certainly find her part 'beautiful' without the analysis of the piece being undermined.
    There are 4 movements in the Second String Quartet. The first is in F# minor, the second in D minor (the first music we hear by Schoenberg, accompanied by that silly zooming in and out on his self-portrait), the third in E-flat minor, and the fourth is written without a key signature, but ends on an F# major triad. The latter two both include the soprano voice. What we hear is the moment the soprano enters in the final movement, which has already been "floating" in a vague tonal space for a minute or so.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    On the appreciation of Schoenberg by Strauss - Strauss had produced an opera whose main focus was the "scandalous" story and its 'outrageous' author, Wilde and with, apparently, much less controversial musical content - is it really just the one 8 note dissonance? If so, you can see that Strauss was not interested in the intellectual approach to musical evolution espoused by AS, just in the shock of that moment. Ross quotes a letter which clearly suggests that Strauss did not approve of what AS was doing. Is Ross wrong?
    No, Ross is right, it's just in this documentary, the viewer is presented with this information, and then immediately afterwards the information that Schoenberg gathered his own followers, making it seem like a cause and effect. In reality, the letter was over 5 or 6 years after the "Second Viennese School" had begun.

    Salome's "modernity" is certainly not restricted to a single chord. The whole thing is full of roving, unresolved harmonies that rarely seem to settle down. I actually think that chord's particular ugliness arises from its being used in an extremely simple chord progression (I-IV-I), but with the middle chord made into a bitonal jumble. Actually, Strauss's next opera, Elektra, goes even further towards atonality, but didn't make the same kind of impact.

    And Strauss had initially supported Schoenberg's work. He was instrumental in getting his then friend a publishing deal with Universal Edition, and he may have kept supporting him in public (for at least a time), but that letter was sent privately to Alma Mahler, and she of course promptly passed on its contents.

    Next, why no mention of Alban Berg, whose opera Wozzeck and Violin Concerto were immediate and lasting public successes? He was heavily influential on Gershwin's Porgy and Bess as well as Britten's Peter Grimes (which could not exist without Wozzeck). To not mention his music in a documentary on the 20th century seems bizarre, especially as the producers seem to want to express a populist view.

    The final thing that irritated me was the insertion of Julian Webber's comment that the composers thought they had made a mistake is audiences enjoyed it. Yes, Schoenberg did say "if it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, then it is not art", but he also desperately wanted audiences to understand him and was disappointed when they did not, time and time again.

    I may seem overly negative or nit-picky here, but this kind of thing really bothers me. Overall, if the documentary leads people to listen to more 20th century music or gives them an idea of the variety of it, then that's definitely a good thing. I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I'm a little less harsh on the other two episodes, actually, although I think the third episode has some definite problems with the narrator and the interviewed guests flat-out contradicting each other.
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Sep-29-2013 at 15:29. Reason: Additional ranting

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    But all the same, the narrator is presenting us with a particular interpretation that seems to agree with the former rather than the latter, that this music is inherently alienating its audience and intentionally devoid of everything anyone who likes music would recognize.
    Except, as I pointed out before, the thrust of the documentary is historical: is it not true that contemporary (as opposed to all, including modern) audiences found the music difficult? Is it not true that Schoenberg wanted to write a music that he knew the conservative bourgeoisie would find unappealing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    I just don't agree that the intent or result in all cases was ugly.
    I don't think that was argued 'in all cases'. Whilst some of the comments made reference to ugliness, not all of them did, but they did want to emphasise that the move away from tonal centres created a degree of unfamiliarity that audiences at the time - and one or two commentators even today - found very discomfiting. But this is one of the 'shorthands' I refer to - 'ugly' is a term of convenience. [edit] Of course, with some of the music playing in the background, the viewer is able to at least sample what he is being told is problematic. I didn't have a problem with it, and I'm no fan of AS.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Next, why no mention of Alban Berg, [...] To not mention his music in a documentary on the 20th century seems bizarre, especially as the producers seem to want to express a populist view.
    I wondered the same. He had a name check, nothing else. I guess the editor would argue that something had to give to make room for other composers, and two out of three in reasonable depth seemed a fair coverage. However, I don't see the 'populist' view in what the producers presented.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    The final thing that irritated me was the insertion of Julian Webber's comment that the composers thought they had made a mistake is audiences enjoyed it.
    But why? Who cares what JLW thinks? Or are you arguing that what he thinks is what the producers think? His comment, as I recall, was in the brief introduction to the whole series of three programmes - was it repeated later? I don't recall his being given very much time to say anything worthwhile.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    I may seem overly negative or nit-picky here, but this kind of thing really bothers me. Overall, if the documentary leads people to listen to more 20th century music or gives them an idea of the variety of it, then that's definitely a good thing. I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I'm a little less harsh on the other two episodes, actually, although I think the third episode has some definite problems with the narrator and the interviewed guests flat-out contradicting each other.
    Haven't seen the other two yet, so can't comment. But again, what if the interviewed guests do contradict each other? Doesn't that force the discerning viewer to form their own opinion, do their own investigation, rather than just take sides.

    The narrator is, of course, just an actor. It's not clear whether the "authorial voice" of the narration is that of the consultant - Alex Ross - or the producers, who do not appear in the first programme at all.

    [btw, thanks for the subtle correction of 2nd string 'concerto' to 'quartet!
    Last edited by MacLeod; Sep-29-2013 at 16:45.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    Except, as I pointed out before, the thrust of the documentary is historical: is it not true that contemporary (as opposed to all, including modern) audiences found the music difficult? Is it not true that Schoenberg wanted to write a music that he knew the conservative bourgeoisie would find unappealing?
    Yes to the first question, a mixed yes and no to the second. He wanted to write his music in spite of the knowledge that conservative bourgeoisie, especially those in Vienna, would find it unappealing. He wasn't specifically writing it in order to shock his audiences, which is a separate thing entirely, not necessarily what you were arguing, but it sometimes comes up in these discussions.


    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    I don't think that was argued 'in all cases'. Whilst some of the comments made reference to ugliness, not all of them did, but they did want to emphasise that the move away from tonal centres created a degree of unfamiliarity that audiences at the time - and one or two commentators even today - found very discomfiting. But this is one of the 'shorthands' I refer to - 'ugly' is a term of convenience. [edit] Of course, with some of the music playing in the background, the viewer is able to at least sample what he is being told is problematic. I didn't have a problem with it, and I'm no fan of AS.
    I also take issue with this statement. The problem audiences have with Schoenberg has far more to do with the density of the music than the harmony, as I said before. There are examples of unclear tonality (sustained for entire pieces, rather than sections of pieces) outside of Schoenberg, say Debussy, that bother almost no audiences today. On the other hand, I've seen everything by Schoenberg called "atonal" or "12-tone", even when the pieces are very clearly tonal, and I'm sick this being used as an excuse for denying the music any validity.

    And as for not being a fan, don't worry, I don't mind. I'm not a fan of a lot of music myself. Nobody likes everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    But why? Who cares what JLW thinks? Or are you arguing that what he thinks is what the producers think? His comment, as I recall, was in the brief introduction to the whole series of three programmes - was it repeated later? I don't recall his being given very much time to say anything worthwhile.
    The comment in question is placed during the section on Schoenberg. I'm not even necessarily criticizing Julian Lloyd Webber here. It could be the editors or producers who put the quote there rather than elsewhere, and it was likely just a general remark.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    Haven't seen the other two yet, so can't comment. But again, what if the interviewed guests do contradict each other? Doesn't that force the discerning viewer to form their own opinion, do their own investigation, rather than just take sides.

    The narrator is, of course, just an actor. It's not clear whether the "authorial voice" of the narration is that of the consultant - Alex Ross - or the producers, who do not appear in the first programme at all.
    True, but the "disembodied voiceover" tends to have a patina of objectivity around it that the interviewees don't necessarily have.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    [btw, thanks for the subtle correction of 2nd string 'concerto' to 'quartet!
    I kind of feel like a jerk making corrections like that, but I'd actually be a jerk (and a hypocrite!) if I criticized anyone for making a mistake.

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    I have just watched the first episode. Thanks MacLeod for pointing it out

    Overall I thought the program was not necessarily anti-moderinsm but rather anti-Schoenberg. The conclusion seemed to be that Schoenberg and Webern are cold, ugly and soulless but that these characteristics do not necessarily apply to other atonal (or at least largely discordant) composers such as Ives and Varese. Even Eric Whitacre had nice things to say about these two.

    To an extent I share this opinion. Ives and Varese are quite appealing to me because their music has a programmatic element, to which images and emotions can easily be attached. I find this harder to do with serialism because the music is so abstract and, in the case of Webern, so empty-sounding (in contrast to the more colourful instrumentation of Varese). But that's just my opinion.

    Will definitely watch the rest of the series.
    Last edited by Winterreisender; Sep-29-2013 at 20:42.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winterreisender View Post
    Overall I thought the program was not necessarily anti-moderinsm but rather anti-Schoenberg. The conclusion seemed to be that Schoenberg and Webern are cold, ugly and soulness but that these characteristics do not necessarily apply to other atonal (or at least largely discordant) composers such as Ives and Varese. Even Eric Whitacre had nice things to say about these two.
    I don't find Schoenberg (or Webern) to be any of those things. To me, his music is so often passionate, beautiful, and lyrical. That's why I think that programs that purport to have objectivity should stay away from such value judgments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winterreisender
    To an extent I share this opinion. Ives and Varese are quite appealing to me because their music has a programmatic element, to which images and emotions can easily be attached. I find this harder to do with serialism because the music is so abstract and, in the case of Webern, so empty-sounding (in contrast to the more colourful instrumentation of Varese). But that's just my opinion.

    Will definitely watch the rest of the series.
    Not a single note of serial music was heard in that entire first episode (beyond perhaps something or other in the intro...maybe?). There wasn't any 12-tone music written until the 1920s.

    Just for a bit of balance, I'll leave off with one of those early Schoenberg works that no one has a problem with today.


    I can honestly tell you that I can hear the mature Schoenberg in this music.

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