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‘Asking About the Inside’: Schoenberg's ‘Idea’ in the Music of Roy Harris and William Schuman

‘Asking About the Inside’: Schoenberg's ‘Idea’ in the Music of Roy Harris and William Schuman The name of Arnold Schoenberg sits rather uneasily alongside that of Roy Harris, icon of rural Americanism, and his one-time pupil and pillar of the American musical establishment, William Schuman. It would certainly require a good deal of imagination to draw any immediate comparisons between the music of Schoenberg (at any stage in his career) and that of these American contemporaries in the 1930s and 1940s. Furthermore, Schoenberg's strained relations with the musical `establishment' and his low opinion of American composition teaching are well documented.1 According to Alan Lessem, such teaching `was bound to fall short of Schoenberg's standards, since it had been so strongly influenced by French neo-classicism, and the teaching of Nadia Boulanger in particular. Students coming under that influence would learn to be satisfied with manipulating a few simple devices so as to achieve a predetermined stylistic result; as he put it, ``to create an external appearance, without asking about the inside.'' '2 Whether Schoenberg would have viewed the teaching of Harris (himself a product of the Boulangerie) in these terms or not is a moot point. What is not in question is the Stravinskian leaning of his then pupil, Schuman. Speaking of his early http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

‘Asking About the Inside’: Schoenberg's ‘Idea’ in the Music of Roy Harris and William Schuman

Music Analysis , Volume 19 (1) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/1468-2249.00109
Publisher site
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Abstract

The name of Arnold Schoenberg sits rather uneasily alongside that of Roy Harris, icon of rural Americanism, and his one-time pupil and pillar of the American musical establishment, William Schuman. It would certainly require a good deal of imagination to draw any immediate comparisons between the music of Schoenberg (at any stage in his career) and that of these American contemporaries in the 1930s and 1940s. Furthermore, Schoenberg's strained relations with the musical `establishment' and his low opinion of American composition teaching are well documented.1 According to Alan Lessem, such teaching `was bound to fall short of Schoenberg's standards, since it had been so strongly influenced by French neo-classicism, and the teaching of Nadia Boulanger in particular. Students coming under that influence would learn to be satisfied with manipulating a few simple devices so as to achieve a predetermined stylistic result; as he put it, ``to create an external appearance, without asking about the inside.'' '2 Whether Schoenberg would have viewed the teaching of Harris (himself a product of the Boulangerie) in these terms or not is a moot point. What is not in question is the Stravinskian leaning of his then pupil, Schuman. Speaking of his early

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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