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Chapter 66

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Chapter 66

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  1. Chapter 66 Atonality: Schoenberg and Scriabin

  2. Lecture Overview • Atonality in music • Nonrepresentational painting • Arnold Schoenberg • Piano Piece, Op. 11, No. 1 • Pierrot lunaire, No. 8 (“Nacht - Passacaglia”) • The spread of the atonal style • Alexander Scriabin • life and music • Piano Prelude, Op. 74, No. 5 • Review

  3. Features of Atonal Music (ca. 1910 - ) • dissonant chords used freely, interchangeably with triads • all tones of chromatic scale drawn upon as though structurally equivalent • basic chords made from any number of tones and intervallic structures • no large-scale functional harmonic progressions

  4. Abstract painting Early in the 20th century important artists in different locations around the world explored a new style of painting in which familiar objects were absent or only hinted at. Their style was thus non-representational or abstract, and the meaning of such works turned on the inherent expressive power of materials themselves—of colors and shapes. At about the same time that abstract paintings appeared, composers such as Schoenberg began to write atonal music, which invites a comparison of such music with non-representational art works such as Kandinsky’s Impression 3 (Concert), shown above.

  5. The Life of Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) • 1874 born in Vienna • c1895 informal private study in music with Alexander Zemlinsky • 1901 moves to Berlin, works as orchestrator and cabaret conductor • 1903 returns to Vienna, lives mainly as private teacher • 1908 begins to compose atonal music • 1911 again moves to Berlin, publishes a treatise on tonal harmony (the Harmonielehre) • 1913 triumphant premiere in Vienna of the romantic oratorio Gurrelieder • 1917 follow service in the Austrian military, Schoenberg settles in Mödling (a Vienna suburb) • 1923 begins to compose twelve-tone music • 1925 appointed Professor of Composition at the Academy of the Arts in Berlin • 1933 dismissed by the Nazis from his Berlin position, flees to Paris, then to America • 1936 appointed Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles • 1951 dies in Los Angeles

  6. Principal Compositions by Arnold Schoenberg • Operas: 4, including • Erwartung • Moses und Aron (incomplete) • Orchestra: chamber symphonies (2), tone poem Pelleas und Melisande, concertos (violin, piano), character pieces • Chamber music: includes 5 string quartets and a woodwind quintet • Songs: numerous collections, also the melodrama Pierrot lunaire • Piano: character pieces • Chorus: including • Gurrielieder (cantata) • A Survivor from Warsaw (narration with chorus)

  7. Arnold Schoenberg, Piano Piece Op. 11, No. 1, 1909 Ternary form

  8. Arnold Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire, 1912, No. 8 (“Nacht-Passacaglia”) Through-composed passacaglia (with a hint of ternary form)

  9. The Life of Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915) • 1872 born in Moscow • 1888-92 studies at Moscow Conservatory • 1898-1903 teaches piano at Moscow Conservatory amid European and American tours • 1902-1908 concert tours of Europe and America • 1915 dies in Petrograd of blood poisoning

  10. Principal Compositions by Alexander Scriabin • Piano: sonatas (10), character pieces • Orchestra: 5 symphonies, Piano Concerto

  11. Alexander Scriabin, Piano Prelude, Op. 74, No. 5, 1914 Free rondo (ABAB) form

  12. Review Key Terms • Vasili Kandinsky • emancipation of dissonance • atonal music • tone-color melody (Klangfarbenmelodie) • piano harmonics • melodrama • Albert Giraud • Sprechgesang • passacaglia • basso ostinato • twelve-tone method of composition • octatonic scale • mystic chord • (symmetric) inversion