View Poll Results: Whose Music Do You Prefer: Schoenberg or Bartok?

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  • I prefer Bartok's

    43 54.43%
  • I prefer Schoenberg's

    9 11.39%
  • Both equally

    13 16.46%
  • I dislike both

    3 3.80%
  • I don't know one or both well enough to decide

    0 0%
  • I am indifferent to them, I seldom listen to their music

    6 7.59%
  • I have not listened to any of either or both

    0 0%
  • I hate ArtMusic's polls

    9 11.39%
  • Who cares

    3 3.80%
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Thread: Whose Music Do You Prefer: Schoenberg or Bartok?

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by ORigel View Post
    Schoenberg wrote a lot of tonal music throughout his career, such as Gurrelieder, Weihnachtsmusik, and the chamber symphonies.

    Did you listen to them? I get the impression that you did not listen to tonal Schoenberg based on you acting like he only composed atonal works. Gurrelieder especially is a must-listen.
    Please post examples here, in particularly the tonal Schoenberg.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMusic View Post
    Please post examples here, in particularly the tonal Schoenberg.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xOTZvdxVz0w

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4po3zSPTexY&t

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bxkuuE9pSoI

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  4. #48
    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    I am indifferent to them, I seldom listen to their music, enough said
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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  6. #49
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    I am not a big fan of either Bartok or Schoenberg. I like Schoenberg's books on composition though (such as the fundamentals of musical composition).

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  8. #50
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    It's good to see all the love for Schoenberg here. Personally, I can't stand atonal music...but I'm glad Arnold didn't waste his life writing music that nobody would appreciate.

    I chose Bartok...because I don't dislike his music as much. But I'd prefer not to listen to either. I'm too old school.

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  10. #51
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    I'm not that great a fan of either composer but there is twice as much Schoenberg in my collection as Bartok: both chamber symphonies, Gurrelieder, Verklarte Nacht, and several of the 12 tone pieces including the Wind Quintet. The only Bartok I listen to is the Divertimento for Strings and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.

    To me they were both among the most imaginary and creative 20th century composers. Schoenberg belongs with the likes of J.S. Bach, Beethoven and Wagner as musical revolutionaries. Bartok belongs to the group of composers that did the most with folk music -- Ralph Vaughan Williams and Bedrich Smetana among them.
    Last edited by larold; Apr-23-2021 at 11:13.

  11. #52
    Senior Member MrMeatScience's Avatar
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    I love both, but would go for Bartok in this pairing, purely because I find myself listening to more of his music more often. But I doubt I would go the same way if the comparison were between Bartok and Berg, or Bartok and Webern. I don't find Schoenberg's dodecaphonic music quite as compelling as his students', although his earlier freely-atonal expressionist stuff is some of my favourite music in the repertoire.

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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMeatScience View Post
    I love both, but would go for Bartok in this pairing, purely because I find myself listening to more of his music more often. But I doubt I would go the same way if the comparison were between Bartok and Berg, or Bartok and Webern. I don't find Schoenberg's dodecaphonic music quite as compelling as his students', although his earlier freely-atonal expressionist stuff is some of my favourite music in the repertoire.
    I think Schoenberg was more driven purely on the dodecaphonic scale to write music but his students wanted more of a blend or at least be able to take that back to tonal with a unique blend.

  14. #54
    Senior Member Haydn70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Terror View Post
    Please, do share some of these interesting but 'unpleasant' stories!
    That teacher is now a close friend whom I see regularly. There are two stories I remember off the top of my head but I want to ask him to retell them so I can get all the details right. I will be seeing him next week and will post after our visit.

  15. #55
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    Bartok's Romanian Dances for orchestra (1917) is quote rich in tonal harmonies:

    Last edited by ArtMusic; Apr-24-2021 at 00:23.

  16. #56
    Senior Member MrMeatScience's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMusic View Post
    I think Schoenberg was more driven purely on the dodecaphonic scale to write music but his students wanted more of a blend or at least be able to take that back to tonal with a unique blend.
    Certainly very true of Berg, but would you say that about Webern as well? His dodecaphonic music is pretty strict, and often goes further than Schoenberg's in terms of exploring the logical ends of the technique. I'm thinking of his use of intervallic palindromes and aggregate rows, but also his concern with row features like hexachordal combinatoriality. Schoenberg uses these too, but not quite as comprehensively or deliberately, it seems to me.

    When I was doing my undergraduate degree I took private theory lessons from one of the composition professors, who was a student of a student of Schoenberg's. Essentially we spent our time poring over matrices from the SVS and their successors like Babbitt. One aspect of the assignments would be to try to discern what governing principles guided their composition of the rows. With Berg, one looked for vestigial tonal structures (like in the violin concerto), with Webern one looked for these sorts of quasi-mathematical features. I spent hours looking at a Schoenberg matrix -- I forget which now -- trying to figure out what the "gimmick" was. I was not as amused as my professor was when he told me there wasn't one and that it was "just" a row that Schoenberg had composed.

    To some extent, these things are a bit silly to fret over as a listener, because even most really talented professionals can't hear all the row permutations going by without a score. In any case, it's far from the point of the music; Webern was very frustrated with the overly technical approach to his work that others took in his lifetime.

    Bartok's method, insofar as we know what it was (he was notoriously tight-lipped about it), reminds me of Webern's in the sense that both had an abiding preoccupation with intervallic and harmonic symmetry and with maths as an organisational principle, but not an end in itself. The first movement of the Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is a good example of that in the Bartok oeuvre, with respect to the way it leverages Fibonacci numbers and its tonal layout. In the case of both composers, these ideas were often deployed in the service of "natural" music, which seems counterintuitive at first blush but makes a lot of sense, I think.

  17. #57
    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    ^ That's the impression I got of Schoenberg, that there isn't a mathematical matrix or something behind the row. I feel he uses the row in service of other things he has in mind, while with Webern it's what music he can get out of that governing principle. Schoenberg's music sounds more organic, less 'serial' and warmer to me than Webern or Babbitt. I don't even feel his music is atonal like the others, hence I can see why he preferred the term pantonal instead of atonal. It doesn't sound like music avoiding a tonal center, but music that has more than one.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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  19. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    with Webern it's what music he can get out of that governing principle.
    It would be interesting to know whether this is true.

    (I'm really keen to know whether Cage escaped from the governing principle in Music of Changes -- is it all totally determined by chance operations. But I've never found anything with enough detail about his praxis.)
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-24-2021 at 12:06.

  20. #59
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    I can't imagine anyone not liking Bartok especially once they have absorbed the so-called French impressionists. I can, though, see some of the difficulties that some might have with Schoenberg. I suppose you have to love Romanticism so much that you can accept it being taken to an extreme. And if you do then you may find yourself allergic to the Serialism. For me it was this serial discipline that enabled me to take the Romantic excesses, excesses that at first acted as something of a barrier to me. But in the end if it were not for his unique personal voice I am sure I would find much of what I initially got from Schoenberg from other composers (although not all in one package) and might not love his music as I do now. I chose "equally", BTW.

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  22. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMeatScience View Post
    Certainly very true of Berg, but would you say that about Webern as well? His dodecaphonic music is pretty strict, and often goes further than Schoenberg's in terms of exploring the logical ends of the technique. I'm thinking of his use of intervallic palindromes and aggregate rows, but also his concern with row features like hexachordal combinatoriality. Schoenberg uses these too, but not quite as comprehensively or deliberately, it seems to me.

    When I was doing my undergraduate degree I took private theory lessons from one of the composition professors, who was a student of a student of Schoenberg's. Essentially we spent our time poring over matrices from the SVS and their successors like Babbitt. One aspect of the assignments would be to try to discern what governing principles guided their composition of the rows. With Berg, one looked for vestigial tonal structures (like in the violin concerto), with Webern one looked for these sorts of quasi-mathematical features. I spent hours looking at a Schoenberg matrix -- I forget which now -- trying to figure out what the "gimmick" was. I was not as amused as my professor was when he told me there wasn't one and that it was "just" a row that Schoenberg had composed.

    To some extent, these things are a bit silly to fret over as a listener, because even most really talented professionals can't hear all the row permutations going by without a score. In any case, it's far from the point of the music; Webern was very frustrated with the overly technical approach to his work that others took in his lifetime.

    Bartok's method, insofar as we know what it was (he was notoriously tight-lipped about it), reminds me of Webern's in the sense that both had an abiding preoccupation with intervallic and harmonic symmetry and with maths as an organisational principle, but not an end in itself. The first movement of the Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is a good example of that in the Bartok oeuvre, with respect to the way it leverages Fibonacci numbers and its tonal layout. In the case of both composers, these ideas were often deployed in the service of "natural" music, which seems counterintuitive at first blush but makes a lot of sense, I think.
    With Babbitt, his music is a good example of over-intellectualizing it. History has so far considered Babbitt for extending the serial technique to rhythm, duration of notes, and dynamics, making for music that was intellectually rigorous but, for many, emotionally limiting. I can see the rigor as an intellectual exercise but there has to be some degree of balance, I think that was Bartok's secret recipe.

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