The Past (1874–1907)

Malcolm MacDonald

in Schoenberg

Second edition

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195172010
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852000 | DOI:

Series: Master Musicians Series

                   The Past (1874–1907)

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This chapter describes events and movements in Vienna from 1874 to 1907. The Vienna into which Schoenberg was born, and which so readily abused him, enclosed a society of unsettling paradoxes. Vienna was the glittering capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yet the colorful surface often concealed disillusionment and despair, and the crosscurrents of social tension, burgeoning anti-Semitism, and political and intellectual ferment. Meanwhile, Schoenberg’s origins were comparatively humble. Genealogy cannot trace his ancestry with any precision further than his grandfather Abraham Schoenberg. At school Arnold Schoenberg was bullied for his small size and studiousness, but as always in later life when he was attacked, he fought back. Oskar Adler, one of his firm friends, was a remarkable person and his influence on Schoenberg throughout his life was profound. This chapter also describes Arnold’s marriage to Mathilde and his friendship with Zemlinksy.

Keywords: Zemlinksy; Chamber Symphony; Vienna; Romanticism; Austro-Hungarian Empire; Abraham Schoenberg; Oskar Adler; Mathilde

Chapter.  11639 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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