Arnold Schoenberg, half IV, 2022
This Week in Classical Music: October 2, 2022. Schoenberg, Half IV, In America. That is the fourth, and – we promise – final installment of our notes on the nice Austrian composer Arnold Schoenbergst of 1933 and spent the primary yr in Boston. He in all probability would’ve stayed longer however Boston’s climate made his bronchial asthma worse, and in September of 1934 Schoenberg moved to Los Angeles. He wrote to his buddy, the conductor Fritz Stiedry, who was then working within the Soviet Union: “We’re going to California for the local weather and since it’s cheaper (sic!)”. He finally settled in Brentwood and lived there for the remainder of his life. To assist himself, he gave non-public classes (Oscar Levant was certainly one of his college students), however quickly was invited to lecture on the College of Southern California. In 1936 he was made a professor on the UCLA. Otto Klemperer, who emigrated from Germany in 1933, was on the time the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He carried out a number of of his items (to excellent opinions) and supplied Schoenberg to guest-conduct a live performance. That didn’t go too properly, and after one other try (and scathing opinions) Schoenberg gave up on the LA Philharmonic, whose musicians had been overtly hostile to him and his music. Klemperer, who left for the East Coast in 1936 was certainly one of many eminent German refugees residing round LA. A lot of them settled within the Pacific Palisades, not removed from Brentwood. One in every of their assembly locations was Villa Aurora, the home of the author Lion Feuchtwanger. Listed here are among the German refugees residing in Pacific Palisades on the time: writers Tomas Mann and his brother Heinrich, Franz Werfel and Alfred Döblin; the playwright Bertolt Brecht; philosophers Theodor Adorno, Ludwig Marcuse and Max Horkheimer; Schoenberg’s pupil composer Hanns Eisler; F. W. Murnau, the filmmaker and Albert Einstein. Schoenberg knew most of them however was not essentially pleasant with all. He developed a tough relationship with Tomas Mann who wrote Physician Faustus, a e-book in regards to the fictitious German composer Adrian Leverkühn who invents a brand new musical approach, a twelve-tone music. Schoenberg was outraged, accusing Mann of “stealing” from him. Mann, who did speak to Schoenberg about his music, was helped largely by Adorno. Schoenberg’s relationship with Adorno was additionally strained as he felt that the latter didn’t fairly perceive the inventive course of behind his methodology. Right here is an attention-grabbing quote from Schoenberg himself on the way in which he composed: “All I need to do is to precise my thought and get essentially the most attainable content material within the least attainable area…. I write what I really feel in my coronary heart… “
However, he grew to become shut with Hanns Eisler, who grew to become fairly profitable writing movie music. Eisler worshiped Schoenberg and tried to assist him financially, with Schoenberg typically refusing the affords. (Eisler, a life-long Marxist, was one of many targets of the Home Committee on Un-American Actions investigation. He needed to go away the US in 1948, settled in East Germany and composed the nationwide anthem of the nation).
Though Schoenberg lived in America for the final 18 years of his life, he by no means grew to become fairly snug there and sometimes considered emigrating to Europe. That didn’t occur. In 1944 he was recognized with diabetes; his well being was deteriorating, and he had to surrender his UCLA professorship. He was 70 however needed to assist himself, as his pension was too small, so he reverted to giving non-public classes and occasional lectures. In 1946 he had a coronary heart assault which just about killed him, however he lived one other 5 years, largely in seclusion. Schoenberg died on July 13th of 1951.
In the course of the American interval of his life, Schoenberg composed a number of necessary works, amongst them two concertos, one for the violin (“unplayable” in Heifetz’s opinion) and one for the piano; one of many few tonal works of the interval, Kol Nidre, for refrain and orchestra; and A Survivor from Warsaw, devoted to survivals of the Holocaust. Right here’s Kol Nidre; Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Refrain.