A programme of ambient, open-form, sonic and musical responses from a collective of jazz, electronic and classical musicians on the centennial of Arnold Schoenberg’s development of compositional serialism.
Across the many subgenres of contemporary classical, experimental rock and jazz through to the many paths of ambient, techno and noise music exploration – traces of serialist thought can still be intuited.
This evening’s concert offering will celebrate this legacy of sonic and musical diversity.
During the summer of 1923 in Vienna (100 years ago – which curiously was a relatively cool one when compared to those experienced in 1859 and 1957) the composer Arnold Schoenberg finally published his Piano Suite Op.25 on which he had been working since 1921 a period on which he was honing the craft of what became known as 12-tone technique, dodecaphony, or serialism. On the completion of his Piano Suite, he allegedly said to a fellow musician that he had “found something that will ensure the supremacy of German music for the next hundred years.”
This utterance in hindsight has a rather forbidding tone – given that 10 years later saw the rise of Hitler and Schoenberg being Jewish had to flee his beloved Vienna, spending the last 20 years of his life in the USA. However, during the century that has passed since that summer in Vienna the unforeseen consequences of Schoenberg’s ideas have had and continue to have far-reaching consequences for music around the world.
Schoenberg’s serial ideas, effectively attempted to democratise the elements of sound in order to explore fundamental relationships between sound and the psyche (Schoenberg was very well-acquainted with the ideas of a fellow Jewish Viennese citizen – Sigmund Freud) undoubtedly opened up a whole new universe of discovery for musical expression.