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Schoenberg (Master Musicians Series) Hardcover – September 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"The Master Musicians are the classics of the repertoire."--Nicholas Kenyon, The Sunday Times

"Malcolm MacDonald, an eloquent advocate for Arnold Schoenberg, has done away with the dry and cerebral bogeyman of modernism. In his place is a complex, multi-faceted, and often contradictory personality whose music pulses with wit, passion, and spiritual depth. MacDonald ably guides us past the 'how' of technical procedures to the 'what' of expressive substance, toward a vast universe of human thought and emotion, at once challenging and entrancing, terrifying and breathtakingly beautiful. This is a Schoenberg of vital relevance to our own fractured world."--Christopher Hailey

"No general survey of Schoenberg is more alert than this one to the paradoxical yet productive tensions between tradition and innovation, secular and spiritual in the composer's life and work. Returning to his original text after three decades, Malcolm MacDonald has not only updated the narrative but also intensified his interpretation in ways which fit the book's governing qualities of enthusiasm and admiration for Schoenberg's special capacity to transcend the negative. The result is an absorbing and accessible tribute to one of musical modernism's greatest masters."--Arnold Whittall, author of Musical Composition in the Twentieth Century and Exploring Twentieth-Century Music

About the Author

A frequent lecturer and broadcaster, Malcolm MacDonald is the Editor of Tempo, the independent quarterly review of modern music, and the author, most recently, of Varèse, Astronomer in Sound.

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Product Details

  • Series: Master Musicians Series
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (September 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195172019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195172010
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,854,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amid the grotesque dearth of books on Schoenberg, this is one of the best.
It chronicles his biography, and gives a good overview of his works.

Long-awaited hardback reissue fully revised, includes much new material as well.

The Music of Arnold Schoenberg, Vol. 4
Schoenberg: Complete Songs for Voice and Piano, Vol. 2
Schoenberg: Piano Works
Schoenberg: Lieder
Schoenberg Violin Concerto Op.36/Sibelius Violin Concerto Op.47
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By scholarboy on July 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in Schoenberg, the history and development of twentieth century music, the period of Fin-de-Siecle Viennese culture, or just about how to think about art, this is a superb book. MacDonald not only knows and appreciates Schoenberg, he has an uncanny ability to explain in lay terms how Schoenberg himself viewed his art. Far from being the inaccessibly dry, technical creator of the much maligned idea of "atonality" and serialism, Schoenberg comes across as the living embodiment of an ultra-romantic expressionism, fully aware of his own foibles as a human being and artist. This is conveyed beautifully by MacDonald, who obviously has studied and understands both the life and the works of this most misunderstood twentieth century artist. Every academic who ever taught using formalistic approaches to serial composition should be forced to memorize this great book-and shouldn't be allowed back in a classroom until he or she can prove they can explain what Schoenberg was really doing. As someone who loves Schoenberg's music, as do I, Macdonald brings us closer to what really inspires a composer's genius and creative impulse than any other writer I have come across in a very long time, regardless of the subject.
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