By Bojan Bujic
"Includes rare and revealing illustrations... [A] sane and sensitive biography... A readable illustrated biography of Schoenberg is such an obvious idea what one wonders why it has taken so long for one to appear. Certainly Phaidon's 20th Century Composers series [...] is an ideal format... Bojan Bujic [...] has performed his task with skill and sympathy. It is refreshing to see Schoenberg treated as a passionate human being... Bujic's explication of the serial method and its imaginative origins is sensible and concise... He is also ingenious in using his pictorial material to illuminate musical issues... Overall an extremely useful introduction."—BBC Music
"The major (and rare) achievement of the book is its slow but sure description of Schoenberg's move through post-romantic tonality, atonality and serialism. The explanation of musical language is always tricky […] but Bujic remains clear and honest without baffling. … particularly deft is his invitation to listen to Schoenberg in a different way. … Bujic's biography, like its subject, dazzles and delights."—Classical Music
Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) was arguably the central musical personality of the 20th century, whose innovative, uncompromising musical language opened up new possibilities for composers and influenced generations of musicians and listeners. A major force in the development of modern music, Schoenberg is famous for abandoning tonality and introducing the 12-tone 'serial' method of composition. In addition to his groundbreaking work as a composer, Schoenberg was an important theorist and an enormously influential teacher, with Anton Webern and Alban Berg among his most famous pupils.
This book presents a clear narrative history of Schoenberg’s life, work and cultural context along with essential reference material and striking illustrations, making it a vital purchase for anyone interested in the composer. Brought up in the rich and cosmopolitan cultural life of Vienna, Schoenberg started to play the violin at the age of nine and began experimenting with composition almost immediately, but had no formal training in music until his late teens. Schoenberg first composed in the late Romantic tradition, and his earliest acknowledged works, including the string sextet 'Verklärte Nacht', date from the turn of the century. Over the next decade in Vienna, he developed his musical style, in due course causing a sensation with the dissonance of his 'serial' technique and the harmonic strangeness and complexity of his material.
80 black and white illustrations
Phaidon Press, 2011
6.8 x 1 x 9 inches
Biography, Music, Vienna