• Philistines! Webern was one of the greatest! Not sure it works for sacred music, but if you listen enough you can distinguish good from bad. Webern's Symphony is one of the best works ever. Berg's Wozzeck is truly an operatic masterpiece. Lulu is pretty good too. Saw it at the Met.
  • mlabelle
    Posts: 46
    Michael speaks sooth. There is a difference between good 12-tone and bad 12-tone.

    Still and all, that video is pretty funny.
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    I LOL'd at the "virtuoso violin" section. G - D - A - E - A...
  • Note that the vid was made by and posted by a 12-tone supporting organization! Whether you love the stuff or hate it, it is still funny. For my part, to appreciate serial composition requires that I steep myself in the readings and theory and shut out everything else. If, on the other hand, I listen casually it often just sounds like...
  • Yeah, it was pretty funny.
  • Mike, "Wozzeck" is the sole epitome of serialism. Webern vacuums wind. Schoenberg...well, he's a footnote along with Berio and Dallipicolla. You wanna hear my tone rows and see my matrixes (I don't know the plural?) I'd stack mine up next to any serial theorist; except some Schenkerian would come along to really muck things up. ;-0
  • Dear Charles,

    Wozzeck is not a serialist piece. Berg didn’t work with serialism until later. The compser’s name is Dallapiccola. “Matrices” is the plural of “matrix”. A tone row in and of itself is seldom interesting; it is what is done with it that makes for great (or mediocre) music.

    Schenker is best-known for tonal analysis; did he also branch into serialism?
  • mlabelle
    Posts: 46
    Ha, whenever people refer to Schenker, I automatically think they're talking about Ravi Shankar.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Jeff Tucker on Serialism

    Wisdom! Let us attend!
  • Charles, I hope you were being tongue-in-cheek. It's hard to tell in writing sometimes. Felipe is right, sort of. Wozzeck is not a serial piece, but it is based on atonal patterns. I can open just about any page of Wozzeck and find a 12-tone row, even if Berg wasn't employing it systematically. It's a stunning work -- as are parts of Lulu. Webern's Symphony, however, is one of the most elegant works written in any style and it verges on total serialism. It's like a beautiful crystal lattice. Schoenberg, for me, is interesting historically, but I've never been fond of his creations. It says a lot for the continuing German influence on U.S. composers that the style they started developed and reigned supreme in American universities for decades afterward. I've always felt that serialism and rock and roll killed off art music in the 20th century. I feel, however, that it is making a bit of a return in our century. Let's see what happens.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Wozzeck is my single favorite opera, with Monteverdi's Orfeo, Rake's Progress, L'enfant et les sortileges, and (if you count it) Ordo Virtutum rounding out the top five. The top ten would include those already mentioned, and any 5 operas (depends on the day) by Mozart. Fidelio, Lucia, Doctor Atomic, and Tristan are at the bottom.
  • Yes, Mike, I was.
    But having Maestro Gaspar school me back to Puddin'Head status was so deserving and satisfying an experience that I'll withdraw my hot air from the premises forthwith. Hope it felt good for him; I know I feel a damn sight better.
    It is so comforting to know that beneath the veneer of "respect my diversity" lies still the undertow of "You're so not worthy of our company."
    BTW, I love Wozzeck and the Stravinsky as well (that being my first opera as a child.)
    And if it's alright with Mssr. Gaspar and the rest of CMAA, I'll finish Father Ruff's book.
    Thanks and happy trails,
    Charles in CenCA
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,299
    ...the day the music had died. (however, stravinsky's music does not belong in the class of 12-tone)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    I remember reading an article by Marilyn vos Savant in which she noted that often swans enter music schools, but frogs emerge. She went on to say that she didn't understand why musicians continue to promote the more modern music that very few people want to hear. I hadn't thought about it that way, even though I do remember constructing tone rows in college. For what purpose I have never been sure, but that's what they were teaching. She probably didn't understand that at a certain level, musicians produce music for the approval of peers, not for a mass audience. That might explain why for much music there is no mass audience, if one at all. I have heard of legendary days when recital halls were full for organ recitals. With some recital programs, you can't even get AGO members to listen. As I looked outside at the winter weather last year before an all Distler recital was scheduled, I decided it wasn't worth getting out in the weather to attend. But then, it does seem we live in an age in which the secular culture has screwed up art and architecture, so why not music, as well? It isn't just church music that is mediocre, there's plenty of "serious" music that isnt' so great, either. I do wonder how much of it will even be around in 100 years. The first opera I heard was Lohengrin - and that was many years ago. I was about ten at the time. Since then, I have had a fondness for tubas - wonder why? To the eyes of a ten-year-old, the music, costumes, and stage sets were awe inspiring and overpowering. Altogether, an unforgetable experience. Children should hear more music and actually see it being performed.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    By the way, lest I forget. The video is hilarious. :-)
  • TN Charles, I totally understand. Attendance at concerts in the recorded music age must be judged differently. From the beginning of time until the 19th century, folks gladly went out to concerts and opera as much for something to do as for the music. I often remind my students that earlier audiences did indeed hear sonata form and appreciated orchestral music, but then again, there were probably plenty of folks there who didn't. We have so many more ways to entertain ourselves now that do not require leaving the house or even making music ourselves in the house. One could lament this, but I see it as the inexorable march of time and the changes that are a normal, healthy part of culture.

    This fact does have an effect on liturgical music (like how I got around to that?). The aforementioned situation leaves us with crowds of people a) seeking something more than a chance to vote for the next Idol and b) unable to participate in the singing worship at our churches. The latter is the perfect reason that folks seem to be more comfortable with the performance style of Pentecostal churches. What do we do? Well, we can jump up and down and holler about singing in church and accuse people of not being properly catechized if they don't -- sound familiar? -- or we can work with the situation. Train those who want it but provide good scholas and choirs for the churches to once again sing for the people. Don't deny people the opportunity, but let them understand their role, which is not carrying the entire burden of the singing at Mass. The situation is not going to change in the culture. Let's find ways to work with the situation.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    I agree with you, Michael. It is different. People do want to be entertained and kept occupied with something, even in church. I know one 16-year-old who walks up to the organ loft nearly every Sunday to say hello - he's a former student. The first words out of his mouth are always, "I'm bored." Letting my Byzantine side out for a moment - I am always amused at people in the Latin Church who complain if the sermon is a bit long. They would come unglued at one of the 3-hour Eastern liturgies.
  • Dear Charles,

    The fact that your comments were intended to be sarcastic was, indeed, completely lost on me. I didn’t mean to offend you; at the same time, I felt there was just too much misinformation in there (which, apparently, at least some of us took seriously) not to react. Admittedly, I could have finessed my comments a bit more, but I do think someone who didn’t know better may have construed from what you said that, for example, Schenker is associated with atonal/pantonal analysis.

    Mike, are the 12-tone rows in Wozzeck that you find actually used as compositional devices as such? It’s one thing to have a tone row, but ISTM that what would make a composition actually serial is the inversion/retrograde manipulation of the row.

    Charles: That all said, I still don’t find your original post funny....not that it bothers me or anything; it simply doesn’t amuse me. Bashing the 2nd Viennese School is kind of a cliché, something most of us do when we first encounter this music and then move on; the faux ad in the original post here is funny because it’s such a novel take on the idea.

    Schoenberg’s “Survivor from Warsaw” is a very cool piece that all of us can probably appreciate. I believe it uses serial composition, but I don’t recall for sure. (There are a few YouTube clips of it.) IIRC, about half of Schoenberg’s output is vocal, half again of which is choral.

    Berg’s Violin Concerto is another stunning piece that incorporates (is entirely based on...? IIRC?) serialism.

    (Please also do me the favor of checking my name’s spelling,)
  • Felipe, yes, in the short excerpt that I show in class there is a 12-tone row that Berg actually develops. But, he doesn't hold to the rules and repeats pitches here and there. I use the example to show that Berg was a rather free spirit when applying his teacher's methods. That was probably one of the reasons Schoenberg was partial to Webern, much to Berg's dismay.

    Yes, the violin concerto is stunning and should be THE piece used to show that 12-tone music can be beautiful. The row (G, Bb, D, F#, A, C, E, G#, B, C#, Eb, F) has a lot of triadic possibilities built in that offer a more consonant melodic movement than many other serial pieces. In fact, one can create 4 triads based on the open strings of the violin. Cleverness aside, Berg had a wonderful gift for melody. If the atonal movement had not come along, I think he would have been even more famous.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Incantu, what's your beef with Doctor Atomic? I thought catching opening night at the Met might be an appropriate way to unwind after the Pilgrimage of Hope (www.pilgrimageofhope.com shameless plug shameless plug).
  • JDE
    Posts: 584
    Don't forget Moses und Aron, which is a great piece indeed. Even though Schönberg converted to Catholicism (mostly for survival, I think), he eventually returned to the faith of his fathers. I like to think of him as being rejuvenated. (Read it out loud for the shameless pun.)

    And (even though it is not serial or even atonal), Verklärte Nacht is a stunning piece of music. Plus my impish side really likes Pierrôt Lunaire.