Today’s "Dissent" presentation consists of a fairly brief (30-40 minutes) lecture-recital at 12:30 in the Chapel.
Roger Admiral will be performing Schoenberg’s Three Piano Pieces, op. 11, written in 1909. They represent a turning point in the history of music: they are atonal (no keys or traditional harmonies) and provoked outrage when they were first performed. Audiences and critics alike considered them cacophony, literally an aural assault, and perceived in them Schoenberg’s utter rejection of past traditions and conventions. They still inspire strong responses from audiences today. As Schoenberg remarked, once he had begun composing atonal music, "the scandal never ceased."
The lecture and performance today takes the opposing view, namely that these pieces are not only very pleasing to listen to, but also that Schoenberg was demonstrably deeply rooted in the past. "I was never a revolutionary," he would claim at the end of his life. His music was, instead, "evolutionary" and inevitable.
Please join us at 12:30. These are striking, unusual pieces, and are not likely to be performed very often around these parts.