August 2007 Avior Byron Research Proposal for a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Berlin

Cultural Meanings of Schoenberg’s Piano Piece Op. 33a: Early Performances, Reception and Recordings
Context Joseph Auner has successfully demonstrated that although many supporters of and objectors to Arnold Schoenberg’s music had described the composer as elitist, his relation to the public was complex and often far from being antagonistic. In fact, many of his compositions from the 1920s simultaneously participate in and challenge contemporary popular genres. Auner claims that ‘the image of an uncompromised Schoenberg making no concessions to the performer or listener is … mistaken.’1 Schoenberg composed the Piano Piece Op. 33a between 25 December 1928 and 25 April 1929. Since early in the twentieth century his compositional technique was seen by most writers as the key to the understanding of his music. There is contradicting evidence concerning whether Schoenberg himself encouraged what was to be called: ‘tone counting’ analysis. Yet, it was claimed that Theodor Adorno and René Leibowitz ‘transmitted this kind of analysis to a whole generation of musicians’.2 Indeed, the vast majority of analyses of Op. 33a (see the bibliography below) relate to the systematic and precompositional aspects such as the 12 tone technique, identifying it as a serial composition in a sonata form. Commentators usually ignored other compositional aspects of the score and especially crucial aspects of the music that were fully defined only during performance. In 1987, Nicholas Cook argued that ‘there seems to be a vague assumption that … (precompositional aspects of serial music) must somehow explain the musical effect even when it is obvious that it does not relate to anything the listener is consciously aware of.’3 Moreover, the great difference between the early recordings of Op. 33a implies that one should seek to understand them by coming in terms, not only with the score, but with performance.

Joseph Auner, ‘Schoenberg and His Public in 1930’, in ed. Walter Frisch, Schoenberg and His World (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 1999). 2 Hans Stuckenschmidt, Arnold Schoenberg (New York: Schirmer books, 1977), pp. 348-349. 3 Nicholas Cook, A Guide to Musical Analysis (London & Melbourne: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1987), p. 333.


these early recordings. as those who want to portray Schoenberg as elitist. 4) To explore connections between the musical interpretations of Schoenberg’s circle. 33a is much more than an abstract twelve tone composition: it is a commentary on the contemporary world of pianism in Berlin. The world of pianism was no exception. 33a (see the discography below)? Are there differences among the performances of Schoenberg’s circle. performance reception and cultural history. 33a and other cultural meanings that the piece has supported during the late 1920s till 1960s? Aims/objectives 1) To understand the reception history of Op. Research questions 1) How was the premier of Op. Is there a connection between the world of pianism in Berlin and the performances of Kraus and Steuermann who were part of that world? Is there a connection between the performances of Op. 33a received by the audience and critics (were there only negative reactions.This study will attempt to reduce the gulf between analysis and the listeners’ and performers’ experiences. My thesis is that Op. 2 . would like us to think)? Is it possible to identify any trends in the reception history of performances of this music? 2) What are the differences and similarities between the early recordings of Op. and their cultural contexts. including popular trends of its composers and performers. It was a significant phenomenon during Arnold Schoenberg’s stays in Berlin. and to discuss the cultural meanings that they support. and other early performers. The aim is to reveal the musical elements that are most relevant for performers and listeners. 33a. by analysing recordings. 2) To understand the unique aspects of. as well as the similarities between. and between them and other early performances? What is the relation between the recordings of performers who recorded the piece twice (Steuermann and Kraus)? 3) The arts blossomed during the ‘Golden’ Twenties in Germany. 3) To further understand the cultural and social aspects of the world of pianism in Berlin (with relation to both composition and performance) that Schoenberg was exposed to.

3) The Deutsche Staatsbibliothek (East Berlin) collection contains a book. 1903-1919 (1927). and also the 3 . where Schoenberg held master classes in composition (1925-1933). of Strauss' Schatzwalzer. of Strauss' Wein. The Akademie der Künste library has many books and articles on Schoenberg. The connection with Busoni is important for understanding the world of pianism in Berlin at that time. and manuscript (15 pages) of Ferruccio Busoni arrangement of Schoenberg's Klavierstück. Many of the performers mentioned in the discography. to find any deviations of the recordings from the score indications. I will review newspapers and other commentaries on their performances.D. essays and manuscripts (for example Waltz in E flat for piano. 2. correspondence (51 items: 1909-1982) with Ferruccio Busoni. in order to examine recordings. 2) The Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (West Berlin) collection contains. arr. Thesis (Ph. Busoni. Schnabel and others. the special characteristics of each recording. The archive contains (among other things connected to Schoenberg) correspondence and performance programs. 33a) and diaries of musicians such as Schoenberg (Berlin Diary). No. 33a. Kraus (a pupil of Schnabel) in Berlin and elsewhere in Europe. 11. of Strauss' Rosen aus dem Süden (1921). arr.) (Berlin: Humboldt Universität. Weib. Op. who premiered the piece on 30 January 1931 at Berlin. et al. wrote about Schoenberg’s piano music and Op. 33a and the aesthetics behind these arrangements. and Edward Steuermann (a pupil of Busoni and Schoenberg). Artur Rubinstain. 1979). und Gesang) by Schoenberg. study relevant literature and gain access to items in the following libraries: 1) The Akademie der Künste (West Berlin) collection. I plan to study the various recordings and other documents.Methodology I wish to spend two months at Berlin from 20 October 2007 till 20 December 2007. I further plan to give attention to the study of the cultural and social aspects of the world of pianism in Berlin at that time by reading concert reviews (especially those of Op. Theurich's Der Briefwechsel zwischen Arnold Schönberg und Ferruccio Busoni. arr. correspondence. I will examine whether there is a connection between Op. I will explore evidence concerning performances of Else C.

Outcomes This study is in many ways a natural continuation of my PhD research which was focused on Schoenberg performance aesthetics and practice. which might develop to be part of a chapter in a book about the performance practice of Schoenberg’s circle playing his music. Professor Hermann Danuser is a world know expert on Schoenberg. The research will touch upon the issue of the relation between performance aesthetics and practice. is important for appreciating the initial historical interpretation of this music. not as abstract performances. An understanding of the performance legacy of performers from Schoenberg’s circle. Other recordings (such as that of the post-War avant-garde pianist Paul Jacobs) will be discussed briefly as a point of reference and in order to enhance the understanding of recordings by Schoenberg’s circle. I hope that this research trip will foster the development of international research contacts with him and other members of the Humboldt University. 33a in particular are considered to be of the most important piano compositions of the twentieth century. but as various musical commentaries of both the composer and some of his interpreters on contemporary musical and social trends. the affects of performance circumstances and technology (such as the introduction of electrical recording that greatly improved sound quality) on the performing. previously unexplored interpretive issues of this music. It has potential to contribute to a refined understanding of early performances of Op. The vast majority of these recordings are not discussed in the literature. Potential significance Schoenberg’s piano music in general and Op.similarities among them. A special attention will be given to three performers who worked closely with Schoenberg (Steuermann. I will use several computer programs in order to sharpen my listening and for presenting the data (as I did in my publication in MTO). which may have a significant affect on their experience. 33a. Kraus and Stein). These issues are discussed to various extents in my publications. 4 . I plan to write an article as a result of this study. Placing this piece in a wider cultural context than the twelve tone technique is significant for a more comprehensive appreciation. This study has potential to reveal to performers and listeners. and other performers mentioned in the discography.

piano (2:04 + 3:27 = 5:31) o *Epic BC 1140 stereo (1961) LP • Glenn Gould. July 1960) (3:40) o *Bärenreiter Musicaphon BM 30 L 1503 mono (1960?) LP • Charles Rosen.Discography • Else C.J. New Jersey: Princeton University Press 1999). Elliott. piano (2:43 + 3:39 = 6:22) o Time Life TL 146 mono (1967?) LP Bibliography Auner. 546. Joseph. in ed. ‘Schoenberg and His Public in 1930’. 2. 1992).: Prentice Hall. New York. N. piano o *Ducretet Thomson 320 C 125 (1958) LP • Else C. piano (recorded: Holland. Twentieth-century music (Englewood Cliffs. xiv. piano o Esquire TW 14-001 mono (1952?) LP • Leonard Stein. NY. piano (5:08) o *Columbia ML 5099 mono (1956) LP • Edward Steuermann. Antokoletz. 4 or 7 January 1957) (2:01 + 3:22 = 5:23) o *Columbia ML 5216 mono (1957) LP • Paul Jacobs. piano (recorded: 1. 16 & 18 November 1965) (2:41 + 4:23 = 7:04) o *Columbia M2L 336 (ML 6216/17) mono (1966) LP • Leonard Stein. Schoenberg and His World (Princeton. 5 . piano (recorded: 30th Street Studio. Kraus . Walter Frisch. p. Kraus.

Thesis (Brandeis University. Kathryn. ‘Arnold Schönberg: Piano Pieces’.’. Redaktion: Therese Muxeneder und Faye Ferguson. ix. Herausgegeben von Christian Meyer. Derrick Puffett and Alfred Clayton (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Cone. 1975). Begriffe und Beispiele. Dahlhaus. D. 1972) Buccheri. Cash. 14. Elmar. ‘Schönbergs Klaviermusik. Ph. ‘An approach to twelve-tone music: articulation of serial pitch units in piano works of Schoenberg. Crittenden. Krenek. Eastman School of Music. John Stephan. Ph. 339. 6 . 3351. Dallapiccola. Blume. Budde. 1987). Edward T. ‘Row anomalies in opus 33: an insight into Schoenberg's understanding of the serial procedure’. ‘Beyond analysis’.. 1981). Master Thesis (Florida State University. Samuel Gresham. Clark. Current Musicology 22 (1976): 42-60. Komposition nach der Stilwende. Joachim. Webern.Bailey. D. ‘An investigation of rhythmic structure in selected solo piano compositions by Arnold Schoenberg.’. Carl. Zürich: Möseler. (Berlin: Akademie der Künste 1974): 30-34. Timothy Vincent. in: Schönberg Festival. ‘A notational problem in Schoenberg's opus 33a. (Wolfenbüttel. (Wien: Arnold Schönberg Center 1998): 159-160. Arnold Schönberg. Veranstaltungen innerhalb der Berliner Festwochen: Internationaler Musikwissenschaftlicher Kongress in der Technischen Universität. p. p. Publikation des Archivs der Akademie der Künste zu Arnold Schönberg’.-19.’. Schoenberg and the New Music: Essays by Carl Dahlhaus. 1. Thesis (New York: University of Rochester. Almanach. Camille. in: Perspectives of New Music 6 (Fall/Winter 1967). No. and Rochberg. trans. März 1998. 1985).

Musikblätter des Anbruch (Juni 1930)... Kraus. ‘”Wrong” notes in Schoenberg's op. Glofcheskie. 42-46f. 33a and op. Perspectives of New Music 12/1-2 (1973): 128-140.’. New York: Schott 1978) (original issued in) Musik im Unterricht 56 (1965). 9. Musik und bildende Kunst: von der Tonmalerei zur Klangskulptur. ‘Schönbergs Klavierwerk steht lebendig vor mir’.’. 50a. (Laaber: Laaber-Verlag 1990). 33a’. M. Eric: ‘An analysis of Schoenberg's Klavierstück. Jack. Ganter. ‘Aspects of harmonic design in Schoenberg's op. Else C. Markus and Reinhard Kapp (eds. Weimar: Bählau Verlag.) (University of Southern California 1980). 33a’. Nancy Hill. 1976(1): 88-104. Ordnungsprinzip oder Konstruktion? Die Entwicklung der Tonsprache Arnold Schönbergs am Beispiel seiner Klavierwerke. Music and Musicians 22 (October 1973). Salzburg: Katzbichler 1997). ‘Twelve-tone techniques as they relate to form in selected works of Schoenberg and Webern. John.). Carl‚ ‘Über das Analysieren Neuer Musik: zu Schönbergs Klavierstücken opus 11/1 und opus 33a’. Gerber. in Schönberg und andere.Dahlhaus. Elton. (München. 1988).M. Köln. Melos III (1974): 134-140. 2002). Johannes P. Studies in Music. Graebner. Grassl. Helga.. Ed . De la Motte-Haber.A.Carl Dahlhaus (Mainz. Adrian: ‘The meaning of serial’. 7 . René: ‘Wo stehen wir?’. op. Leibowitz. Austin: Thesis (D. Claus.. S. Die Lehre von der Musikalischen Aufführung in der Wiener Schule (Wien. Los Angeles: Thesis (M. p.) (Texas: University of Texas.

Wallace. Hausarbeit. 8 . . Schrader Bärbel and Jürgen Schebera. 1988). MacKay. Wiplinger. Tuttle. Tempo 146/8 (September 1983): 30-47. The Not Quite Innocent Bystander. 1989).D. .’.. René: Schoenberg et son école: l'étape contemporaine du language musical. Janin 1947. Thesis (Ph. trans. 1988) Schnabel. David Porter and Gunter Schuller. [translated by Nancy Francois]. The Music Review 18/4 (November 1957): 300-318. Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst "Mozarteum" (1983). Searle . A treatise on twelve-tone composition. Edward.’.[Paris]: J. NY: Dover Publications. Nachum. The ‘Golden’ Twenties (New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Salzburg. Clara Steuermann. ‘The Scope of Programme Musik’. (San Diego: University of California.1950. 302. T.Leibowitz. Schoffman. Leibowitz. William. Artur.Humphrey. Proceedings of the Musical Association 25 (1898): 139-56. ‘The analysis of phrase structure and tonal centering in early twentieth century tonalities. 1983). Richard Cantwell and Charles Messner (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. 101 p. ‘Vanguard Music on the Gramophone’. Music & Letters. eds.). [3] p. 38/3 (Jul. John William. Temple. ‘Schoenberg opus 33a revisited’. ‘Strawinsky contra Schönberg: Eine ästhetisch-pädagogische Studie. My Life and Music (Mineola. 1957): 265-270. Steuermann. ‘Schönberg's compositions for piano solo’. René.B. Nikolaus.

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