Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Shame – Arnold Schoenberg

Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), known as one of the creators of atonal music, was furious when Thomas Mann published his novel “Doctor Faustus”. Specifically, the main protagonist of the novel is Adrian Leverkühn, a composer who "sells his soul to the devil” to invent a new music technique like the one Arnold Schoenberg did...

After the publication of the novel, Schoenberg, in anger, wrote an open letter for the public in which he accused Thomas Mann of plagiarism. But Mann managed to defend himself and the novel by saying that Schoenberg had a great influence on him.

Nevertheless, the composer was convinced that Leverkühn, the hero of the novel, ruined his reputation in cultural circles, and complained about it for the rest of his life.

- If Thomas Mann only hinted to me that he intends to write a novel about a composer, in just a few hours I could have invented a completely different music technique, just for him! - Arnold Schoenberg used to say.

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