Daniel drdq at
Sat Dec 26 15:50:34 PST 1998

For what it's worth, I found the first volume of Capital to be relatively easy reading, and certainly very enjoyable and engaging from a literary point of view.

So many matters are being conflated in this discussion. There are assumptions being made that don't hold up. What makes listening to Schoenberg a "tough walk in the woods"? I could agree that his music tends to be very dense, and certainly can't be fully absorbed in a single listening. Does that mean it's hard to understand? I've heard people say that a canvas of Hieronymus Bosch is extremely complex. Look at Michelangelo's Judgment Day. Can anyone absorb such wealth of detail in a single look? Yet, there's nothing difficult to understand.

There is nothing difficult to understand in Schoenberg either. (And, I can assure you that his goals had nothing whatever to do with distinguishing his work from the more popular composers who enjoyed so much more attention. His goals were purely musical. He never tried specifically to make his works complex or difficult to understand. Indeed, he was devoted to the cause of making himself understood in his music. Comprehensibility was his all and everything.) It may be that people who do not speak French find the language complex and incomprehsible. It may also be that preconceptions about what art is supposed to be may make it difficult for some people to see what is plainly obvious in a work of art. Our culture looks upon the work of this century's Modernists (most of them, that is) with a lack of comprehension because the culture out of which their art came no longer exists. People no longer speak its language. Their preconceptions are based on a new culture, wholly different from that of the past.

But, there is nothing difficult about Schoenberg's music.


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