Sunday, January 5, 2014

Doctor Faustus : chapter 22 : twelve tone music

Arnold Schönberg and the twelve tone matrix ( another magical square ? )

September 1910; AL leaves Leipzig but returns home to Buchel first for the mariage of hi sister.

22.1 Mariage of Ursula ( AL’s sister ) Leverkuhn with Johannes Schneidewein. They will have four children, Rosa, Ezechiel, Raimund and Nepomuk. The last one will play an important part later in the book

22.2 The youngest, however, Nepomuk was an angel. More of that later – at almost the end of my story

22.3 Last meeting between Al and his parents ?

22.4 Al and Sz go on a walk through sceneries of their childhood memories. AL has a headache (from the Christian ceremony ? Is the devil stirring as JP Anderson wittily noticed)

22.5 SZ helps Al with the adaptation of the Shakespaerean tekst of Love Labour lost

Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s for a performance at the Inns of Court before Queen Elizabeth. It follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to foreswear the company of women for three years of study and fasting, and their subsequent infatuation with the Princess of Aquitaine and her ladies. In an untraditional ending for a comedy, the play closes with the death of the Princess's father, and all weddings are delayed for a year. The play draws on themes of masculine love and desire, reckoning and rationalization, and reality versus fantasy.

22.6 … which I had based on Tieck and Hertzberg…German translators of Shakespeare

22.7 … as we theologians say with justifiable pride at having smuggled the Devil out of this union of the flesh by making a sacrament of it…

… very comical, how what is natura land sinful has been taken prisoner by the sacrosanct…
… the domestication of what is naturally evil, of sex,…
Without doubt AL is thinking about his moment of sin with “Esmeralda”, a union of the flesh with the grace of the Devil

22.8 SZ who intends to tell Al about his engagement with helene, reacts as a good Humanist should : …I don’t like you handing over Nature to Evil… “slandering the wellspring of Life”… Whoever believes in the devil is already His…

22.9 Al does not give up :

“And all be one flesh” = domestication, to conjure the elment of sin, sensuality, of evil lust right out of marriage
“lust exists only if the flesh is twofold…

22.10 “Well roared, lion” ( Shakespeare ) SZ tells about his intention to mary Helene…

22.11 “But, if thou marry, hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry!” ( quote out of Love Labour Lost ) – cuckoldry as an inevitable consequence of marriage – what a nasty thing to say to someone about to marry.

22. 12 “Come, come, you talk greasily” ( Shakespeare Lost Labour Love ) from a part with lots of sexual innuendos

22.13 Through AL’s words we suspect a problem with bodily love as well as Love in general

22.14 Al sets out his plans / ideas towards the future with the 12 tone music. As some of you have all ready remarked, “twelve tone” is the stuff of Arnold Schonberg. Mann did not acknowledge his source of inspiration first, but then afraid of any possible court-cases, he added in subsequent editions a postscript that the 12 tone was not his invention but that of Arnold Schönberg.
The fact that Al is mostly autodidact in musical matters is also taken from Schönberg’s life who like the fictional Al had no formal musical education.

( from Wiki )

Arnold Schoenberg (German: [ˈaːʁnɔlt ˈʃøːnbɛʁk] ( listen); 13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) was an Austrian composer and painter, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. After his move to the United States in 1934, he altered the spelling of his surname from Schönberg to Schoenberg.

Schoenberg's approach, both in terms of harmony and development, has been one of the most influential of 20th-century musical thought. Many European and American composers from at least three generations have consciously extended his thinking, whereas others have passionately reacted against it. During the rise of the Nazi Party in Austria, Schoenberg's works were labelled as degenerate music.[citation needed]
Schoenberg was known early in his career for simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify innovations in atonality (although Schoenberg himself detested that term) that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, an influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale. He also coined the term developing variation, and was the first modern composer to embrace ways of developing motifs without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea.

Schoenberg was also a painter, an important music theorist, and an influential teacher of composition; his students included Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, Egon Wellesz, and later John Cage, Lou Harrison, Earl Kim, Leon Kirchner, and other prominent musicians. Many of Schoenberg's practices, including the formalization of compositional method, and his habit of openly inviting audiences to think analytically, are echoed in avant-garde musical thought throughout the 20th century. His often polemical views of music history and aesthetics were crucial to many significant 20th-century musicologists and critics, including Theodor W. Adorno, Charles Rosen and Carl Dahlhaus, as well as the pianists Artur Schnabel, Rudolf Serkin, Eduard Steuermann and Glenn Gould.

Arnold Schoenberg was born into a lower middle-class Jewish family in the Leopoldstadt district (in earlier times a Jewish ghetto) of Vienna, at "Obere Donaustraße 5". His father Samuel, a native of Bratislava, was a shopkeeper, and his mother Pauline was native of Prague. Arnold was largely self-taught. He took only counterpoint lessons with the composer Alexander von Zemlinsky, who was to become his first brother-in-law.

In his twenties, Schoenberg earned a living by orchestrating operettas, while composing his own works, such as the string sextet Verklärte Nacht ("Transfigured Night") (1899). He later made an orchestral version of this, which became one of his most popular pieces. Both Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler recognized Schoenberg's significance as a composer; Strauss when he encountered Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder, and Mahler after hearing several of Schoenberg's early works.

I add two things :

Schônberg’s father came from Bratislava -> Hetaera Esmeralda has gone back to Bratislava ( some eastern – European connection here ? – Why Bratislava ? ( Presburg ? )

Alexander von Zemlinsky -> Kretschmar ?

Arnold Schönberg was not amused by his role in Doctor Faustus. He was especially worried that the readers of Faustus would think he had a Siphilitic infection just like his alter ego Leverkuhn.

22.15 At the end of the chapter, Al shivers in a chill. The Devil is indeed very close…