Arnold Schoenberg - Impact of Religion on His Music Term Paper by sonicsoul

Arnold Schoenberg - Impact of Religion on His Music
An examination of the way in which Arnold Schoenberg's religion impacted on his music.
# 115258 | 3,866 words | 11 sources | MLA | 2008 | GB
Published on Jul 14, 2009 in Religion and Theology (Judaism) , Music Studies (Composers)

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This paper describes the dilemmas which faced the Viennese composer as a modern, assimilated Jew. It then examines the image of Moses that Arnold Schoenberg created in his works on that theme. Specifically, the paper discusses how Schoenberg's Moses differs from the traditional or historical one and what can we conclude about the composer's Jewish identity on the basis of this comparison. Further, the paper discusses how this was Schoenberg's response to the Viennese public's racism and rejection with which he was confronted.

Table of Contents:
Dilemmas Faced By Arnold Schoenberg
Religious Works

From the Paper:

"These are questions which remained unanswered and could not be resolved by Schoenberg. What he did accomplish in this major grand testament, was to use the Bible to speak relevant lessons to his generation. The conflicts of the Torah are internalized and spiritualized. The mob takes on the role which the naive masses of uncomprehending Jews played in his world in Vienna, especially those who believed their future in Vienna to be secure. The mob opted for the tangible, yet fleeting, pleasures of Aaron over the sublime, yet intangible, ones that God offered to them through Moses. Similarly, the Jews in Vienna chose to believe in the efficacy of assimilation and a self-abnegation until, in many cases, it was too late."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Todd Endelman, "Conversion as a Response to Antisemitism in Modern Jewish History," in Living with Antisemitism, ed. Jehuda Reinharz (Hanover/London, 1987) and the articles in his Jewish Apostacy in the Modern World: Converts and Missionaries in Historical Perspective (New York, 1988).
  • H.H. Stuckenschmidt, Schoenberg: His Life, World and Work, trans. Humphrey Searley (New York: Schirmer Books, 1977), p. 26.
  • Arnold Schoenberg, "My Evolution" [1949], in Karl Dahlhaus, Schoenberg and the New Music, 1967, p. 81.
  • Arnold Schoenberg, "Franz Liszt's Work and Being" [1911], in Dahlhaus, p. 82.
  • To Kandinsky, 20/4/22, in Erwin Stein ed., Arnold Schoenberg: Letters, trans. Eithone Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1965), p. 88.

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