Winter 1945 • Vol. VII No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1945 |

Schoenberg and Strauss

(The 80th birthday of Richard Strauss was June 11, and the 70th birthday of Arnold Schoenberg was September 13, 1944.) The present state of stylistic divergence in Western music is a result of the crisis which music faced in the 'eighties and of which the antagonism between Brahms and Wagner was a symptom. The argument was more than special pleading for a specific style. Brahms pursued the ideal of the classics which considered music as absolute and which, except on rare occasions, did not permit extraneous influences to disturb the pure meaning of the tones. In the classics each tone was structurally significant and it was the total work which conveyed the composer's intention to the audience. Wagner departed from this practice, reaching his effects through voluptuousness of sound; extraneous program connotations were an integral part, and gradually music developed a tendency to deteriorate into an auxiliary to other arts and ideologies. Wagner's ideologies were of the neo-Germ

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.