A Taste for “the Things of Heaven”

Kálra Móricz

in Jewish Identities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520250888
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933682 | DOI:
A Taste for “the Things of Heaven”

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Though he left it incomplete, Schoenberg never gave up Jakobsleiter, the Balzacian/Swedenborgian rise to heaven and Strindbergian struggle for faith of which stayed central to the composer's religious visions. Like his involvement in Jewish politics, his ideas about religion had no practical implications. Schoenberg's rare attempts to put his art in the service of any religious ritual more specific than the worship of an abstract, unimaginable God resulted in awkward interactions between him and religious authorities. The best summary of his religious beliefs are the texts of Modern Psalms, which recycle many ideas from The Biblical Way, Moses und Aron, and his political writings. Instead of seeing these works as the final manifestations of a journey toward Jewish identity, one should recognize in them the same idiosyncratic combination of spiritual, political, and artistic concerns that characterized some of Schoenberg's earlier compositions.

Keywords: religious vision; Jakobsleiter; Jewish politics; Biblical Way; Jewish identity

Chapter.  10332 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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