Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Better Know a Composer: Arnold Schoenberg

If you want to get a good picture of how Schoenberg's aesthetic thought changed over time, his solo piano music is the place to start. In no other genre can you so clearly hear the shift from free-wheeling intuitive expression to a historically conscious formalism grounded in a desire to redeem Western music.

Here's an essay that appeared in the program for Russell Sherman's recital of these works last night at Mannes as part of the Institute and Festival of Contemporary Performance. Take a look. If you're interested, I'm happy to point you to other things to read, and recordings as well. 

You can listen to Steuermann's recording from the 1950s of the Three Piano Pieces, Opus 11, here. Also, here's a video of Glenn Gould and Yehudi Menuhin talking about Schoenberg's Violin Fantasy.