"It sounds as if someone had smeared the score of Tristan while it was still wet."
"Only a psychiatrist can help poor Schoenberg now...He would do better to shovel snow instead of scribbling on music paper."
Schoenberg on the occasion of Strauss' 50th birthday: "He is no longer of the slightest artistic interest to me, and whatever I may once have learned from him, I am thankful to say I misunderstood."
"Strauss is known to have been disconcerted
[haha- good one, Charles] by the growing virtuosity of modern orchestras and their ability to give an unfortunate clarity to passages written to sound as a sweeping and harmonious blur."
Reminds me of some of the chorales from Bach's St. Matthew Passion, which would have sounded more dissonant in his tuning system.
by Charles Rosen
Jessye Norman as The Woman in the 1989 Met Opera production of Erwartung.
Amazing, I know.
"A form and its meaning cannot be divided so simply, above all in a work of music. The intense, relentless expressivity of each moment in a work like Erwartung is a formal device as well as an extramusical significance. There is, in short, no definable difference between the emotional significance of a chord and the emotional relationship of the chord to the other notes in a work of music. The ambiguous nightmare symbolism of Erwartung is as much a form of expression as its dissonant harmonic structure: the dissonance and the symbolism are related (indeed, often identical), and
it is a mistake to think that one means or signifies the other."
"If dissonance is understood as that which demands resolution (and this definition must be maintained if
the expressive role of dissonance in the language of musical representation is to be understood), if it has meaning only as part of an opposition consonance-dissonance, then the elimination of consonance, of resolution, destroys the basis for expression, makes dissonance itself meaningless. The powerful emotional force of Schoenberg's music would then be intelligible only against an inherited background of traditional harmony, and would itself be an incoherent system, dependent on a musical culture it was intent on destroying."
Oh, the irony.