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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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(p.106) Chapter Six Style…

Malcolm MacDonald

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Schoenberg’s style in detail. More than 50 years after its composer’s death, Schoenberg’s music certainly enjoys an enormous reputation in most critical, academic and performing circles. But among the general listening public, its stock is considerably lower. The main stumbling block has been that of style and technique, and specifically Schoenberg’s “innovatory” methods. He did not set out to be an innovator: his musical language developed almost instinctively as he strove to express, with ever greater precision, the results of a search for truth in personal and artistic experience. Technique was never more than a means to an end; yet technique became the focus of critical debate. Thus by a bitter irony Schoenberg, the passionate upholder of the “idea” in music, is associated in most people’s minds with a question of style.

Keywords:   Schoenberg’s music, Schoenbergian paradox, Berg, Webern

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