The Berg-Schoenberg Correspondence: Selected Letters

Juliane Brand, Editor, Donald Harris, Editor, Christopher Hailey, Editor W. W. Norton & Company $35 (497p) ISBN 978-0-393-01919-3
From 1906 to 1935, the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg and one of his two principle disciples, Alban Berg, corresponded about their needs, feelings and artistic motivations. Totally committed to Schoenberg's ideas, Berg feared and worshipped his hero and many of his letters are subservient and servile. Schoenberg, who hated reading letters and disliked writing them, wrote much less frequently and often complained about his need for money. Each maintained a reserve that prevented a truly candid exchange of ideas. Nevertheless, in providing an enlarged perspective on two great composers, this competently translated and annotated correspondence helps illuminate an era. It also reveals ""that garrison mentality and snobbishness that belong to the less appetizing legacies of the Schoenberg circle.'' In this edition, a major work of musical scholarship, 338 of the 800-odd extant letters are published complete, and a further 39 are cut or summarized. Photos not seen by PW. (October 13)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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