Abstracts of issue 16 (2002)

Egon Wellesz

The Origins of Schönberg’s Twelve-Tone System

This is a very rare text about the origins of Schönberg’s twelve-tone system, kindly offered by one of Wellesz’s students, Markos Dragoumis, containing memoirs from Wellesz’s contacts with Schönberg that contribute to understanding the unique personality of Schönberg as a composer. Here classical sayings by Schönberg are confirmed, that have to do with his criticism of the term atonal music, the relations of his early work to some parameters of romanticism, and the definitive rupture with the romantic tonal language in his 2nd String Quartet. There are also references to op. 11 and 19, Pierrot lunaire etc., and special attention is given to the Schönberg’s second major rupture, with his op. 23. Of further interest is Wellesz’s mention of Matthias Hauer and the much discussed difference between him and Schönberg.

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