Here is a fascinating clip of the Six Little Piano Pieces, op 19 with the original manuscript:
Musicians today seek a larger and larger audience; Schoenberg went in precisely the opposite direction. Here is a summary of a recent story about a current musical group. The headline was "Taking Aim at the Mainstream"
Indie-rock duo Tegan and Sara are trying to punch through a glass ceiling with an album of unabashed musical hooks intended to pull in a bigger audience.
Schoenberg was taking aim at the future by focusing his musical efforts on capturing the loyalty of a small group of cognoscenti. What went wrong? Perhaps it was his attitude. The "indie-rock duo" started out with idiosyncratic music and built up a small audience of fans. Now they are writing more pop-oriented stuff ("musical hooks") that should attract a larger audience. Schoenberg instead, confronted with unruly audiences that greeted his brand of new music with derision, founded the Society for Private Musical Performances which you had to join to attend. No applause was permitted and critics were not allowed entry! Call it a kind of anti-marketing. There were only a few hundred members of the society, most of them professional musicians. I have to say that the notion is appealing. In fact, an organization I am presently on the board of, presents a season of mostly chamber music every year and while the public is invited to attend, it is mostly supported by patrons who make substantial contributions. It is the kind of model that can support classical music during these difficult times.
But in the early 20th century, when the mainstream of classical music was hugely popular, it was only music by the notorious Schoenberg that needed special conditions for its performance. Nowadays, it seems all of classical music is in the same boat.
I haven't said much about those pieces, op 19, but apart from doing a cold-blooded analysis, I'm not sure what to say. They have an otherworldly charm, I find.
What do you think?