'Where powers are boldly stirring, I counsel open war': Arnold Schoenberg and Music Criticism

Alexander Owen Carpenter


It is commonplace to situate Schoenberg as the subject of music criticism, much of it staunchly negative. Schoenberg’s entire biography is coloured by his oppositional orientation towards music critics and criticism, and he frequently blamed the arbiters of his work for coming between himself and what might have otherwise been a more receptive listening public. This article makes a case for Schoenberg as not merely the subject of criticism, but rather, by virtue of his life-long engagement with critics and criticism—in letters, essays, and on canvas — as a key participant in the discourse of music criticism in the early 20th century, and as an important music critic in his own right.


Schoenberg; Vienna; music criticism

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ISSN: 1836-8336