The Arnold Schoenberg Companion

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Author: Severine Neff
Date: June 1999
From: Notes(Vol. 55, Issue 4)
Publisher: Music Library Association, Inc.
Document Type: Book review
Length: 1,208 words

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Edited by Walter B. Bailey. Stamford, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. [xiv, 335 p. ISBN 0-313-28779-1. $89.50.]

Walter Bailey's Arnold Schoenberg Companion is a series of essays considering Schoenberg's music, theoretical thought, teaching philosophies, and historical impact. Each contribution presents a specialized topic associated with its author's earlier research: Bailey himself on the early tonal works, Patricia Carpenter on Schoenberg the theorist, Ethan Haimo on twelve-tone music, Jan Maegaard on the late tonal works, Jerry McBride on recent bibliography and discography, Gunther Schuller on compositional influence, Bryan Simms on Schoenberg and analysis, Leonard Stein on atonality and Schoenberg the teacher. As Bailey explains in his preface, the purpose of the book is to provide "nonspecialist readers with complete but general introductions to ... key features of Schoenberg" (p. i). He and the other contributors succeed admirably in presenting portraits of Schoenberg that will engage not only novice readers but seasoned scholars as well.

The essays of Ethan Haimo and Jan Maegaard on the late music are much-needed contributions to the literature on Schoenberg. Except for articles by Alexander Goehr, George Perle, Christian Martin Schmidt, and Dieter Schnebel, there has been little work on the music of the last decade of Schoenberg's life, especially the late tonal works. (See Alexander Goehr, "Schoenberg's Late Tonal Works," Listener 16 [1964]: 132-44; George Perle, "Schoenberg's Late Style," Music Review 13 [1952]: 274-82; Christian Schmidt, "Ansatze zu einem harmonischen System in spaten tonalen Kompositionen Schonbergs," Die Musikforschung 29 [1976]: 42531; Dieter Schnebel, "Schonbergs spite tonal Musik als disponierte Geschichte," in Denkbare Musik, ed. Hans Rudolf Zeller [Cologne: M. DuMont Schauberg, 1972], 123-35.) Particularly in his comments on Ode to Napoleon, Haimo is able to clarify key issues associated with this music: its ambiguously tonal structure, the freedom in set orderings, and the primacy of hexachordal structures that do...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A54993934