Chamber Concert at Schönberg Center

Chamber Concert at Schönberg Center

After dinner on Monday, Judith and I went to a chamber concert in the Schönberg Center. The program began with a fugue Schönberg wrote in 1938 in response to Kristallnacht, and was followed by pieces by Janácek, Rainer Bischof (a contemporary 12-tone composer), and Schönberg’s bravura Phantasy for Violin with piano. Bischof is on the right in the photo here. I had a chance to meet him during the Pause and ask him about the composition. He demurred that the 12-tone structure didn’t matter, and like Schönberg’s own process of writing melodic lines first, “the process is the same.” But I could hear that his treatment of the row material did give the piece a thematic shape and structure, which was enhanced by a wide range of tonal colors – he got every sound out of the cello that could be produced with a bow (thankfully no slapping and knocking, though – I’m not a fan of those tricks.) After the intermission, we entered a completely different sound world – Beethoven’s virtuosic Ghost Trio, which was an exciting end to the concert. It was wonderful being in the new Schönberg Center, which didn’t exist when I was studying his music. I’m eager to go back some daytime soon and see the library, archive, and exhibits. For more about the center and its programs: http://www.schoenberg.at.

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About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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