Chapter

A “True Modernist”

Ehrhard Bahr

in Weimar on the Pacific

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251281
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933804 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251281.003.0012
A “True Modernist”

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This chapter revisits the controversy between Thomas Mann and Arnold Schoenberg regarding the employment of twelve-tone composition in Doctor Faustus. It draws on the conflict to show that Mann had the highest respect for the composer and his achievements. Mann's personal dedication to Schoenberg in a copy of Doctor Faustus indicates that he was aware that the composer represented the true modernist; a recognition that his Faust figure never deserved until perhaps his last composition. Schoenberg's choral and instrumental music, composed in Los Angeles, is presented as the most important achievement of exile modernism in its refusal to make compromises with mass culture and its attempts to find content and forms that speak to contemporary audiences. Finally, the chapter compares the corpus of Schoenberg's exile compositions to the works of his fellow exiles: Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, and Franz Werfel.

Keywords: Thomas Mann; Arnold Schoenberg; twelve-tone composition; Doctor Faustus; exile modernism; exiles; Bertolt Brecht; Alfred Döblin; Franz Werfel; instrumental music

Chapter.  9201 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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