|Schoenberg is a tough nut to crack for many people, which is too bad since his music really does have a lot to offer. It's not easy listening to be sure. Schoenberg wanted people to like his music.
Thanks for reminding me ~ I did really try hard!
Kylie Minogue also wanted people to like her music btw
Maybe it's something to do with the Germanic spirit of Schoenberg's music. His spiritual predecessors I can handle ~ like Webern's ditty for string quartet (romantic vein). Equally, intense music which was never written 'to be liked', such as the music originating from Poland's Vintage 33 group of composers, has always enthralled me. Henryk Gorecki's String Quartets, composed with the second world war in his blood and the sound of bomb siren shelters are intensely provocative on an emotional level and move towards a depth of spiritual desolation which resonates with me. Having said as much, Sprechstimme (or Spechstimme as it is usually bandied around these days).......takes place in a classical medium that moves beyond the intimacy of the intense dialogue within chamber music which I still can't get. Vocal performance art and opera are different genres of classical music, and it's not realistic for an audience to love all genres of music; some composers are reknown more for specific works in one medium (such as Scriabin in his piano sonatas) and others in symphonic work (like Myaskovsky). Equally, many composer's 'fame' for their works, rests on their interpreters, and when there are none, such as Szymanowski's string quartets until the early 1980's, the work remains buried and obscured in history, until a champion like the Varsovia or Carmina Quartet, come to raise it back into the public light.
Is the same true for Schoenberg? Later Russian Jewish composers, such as Moshei Vainberg, capture an emotional accessibility in his string quartet cycle which I find tangible, perhaps even if not as accomplished as Schoenberg's theoretical prowess. Schoenberg's work has been interpreted and re-interpreted at length; he has the advantage of never being eclipsed into anonymity and his work probably is best known to us because of its theoretical underpinnings.
But what of the listener? Well Gorecki's chamber music work isn't easy listening, and in fact, most (romantic) classical buffs would say his string quartets are like torture, whereas his monotonal vocal work like the 3rd Symph. are very easy going. But Schoenberg?
I just can't get him and I've tried, and keep wondering what it is people see in music like his. Maybe I'll never get it, and his music will remain forever closed off to my entry in it. Emotionally, I find it deadening. Whereas Gorecki's work will take man to the boundaries of desolation, explore that desolation in depth and intensity, he does not abandon a listener there. Schoenberg......doesn't seem to care for the listener. Maybe his theoretical approach, enables this? That so many people feel that way about his music, says something about his music: maybe we don't want theoretical and technically accomplished music. Maybe music, is fundamentally, a visceral experience, bound to the aural senses through the power of emotional intensity; not theoretical detachment.