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Malcolm MacDonald

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172010.001.0001

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Peripeteia (1908–13)

Peripeteia (1908–13)

(p.1) Chapter One Peripeteia (1908–13)

Malcolm MacDonald

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the sudden change of events in Schoenberg’s career from 1908 to 1913, the biggest of which was the “Bösendorfer scandal,” which is how the Viennese newspaper headlines on December 22 1908 referred to an event wherein the famous Rose Quarter, with one of the leading singers from the Court Opera, Marie Gutheil-Schoder, had given a recital in Ludwig Bösendorfer’s concert-hall. The “scandal” was the reception accorded a new string quartet with voice by a 34-year-old composer and teacher already notorious for outrageous modernism: Arnold Schoenberg. What was unsettling was the way in which it undermined the listener’s basic assumptions about the stability of key: its unheard-of rapidity in modulation plunged the audience into a half-familiar yet unsettling world.

Keywords:   Arnorld Schoenberg, Pappenheim, modernism, Mathilde Schoenberg, Second Quartet, Marie Gutheil-Schoder, Böendorfer scandal

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