Marilyn McCoy opens the volume with a concise chronology, based on the latest scholarship, of Schoenberg's life and works. Essays by Joseph Auner, Leon Botstein, Reinhold Brinkmann, J. Peter Burkholder, Severine Neff, and Rudolf Stephan examine aspects of his creative output, theoretical writings, relation to earlier music, and the socio-cultural contexts in which he worked.
The documentary portions of Schoenberg and His World capture Schoenberg at critical periods of his career: during the first decades of the century, primarily in his native Vienna; from 1926 to 1933, in Berlin; and from 1933 on, in the U.S. Included here is the first complete translation into English of the remarkable Festschrift prepared for the 38-year-old Schoenberg by his pupils in 1912; it presciently explored the diverse talents as a composer, teacher, painter, and theorist for which he was later to be recognized. The Berlin years, when he held one of the most prestigious teaching positions in Europe, are represented by interviews with him and articles about his public lectures.
The final portion of the volume, devoted to the theme Schoenberg and America, focuses on how the composer viewed--and was viewed by--the country where he spent his final eighteen years. Sabine Feisst brings together and comments upon sources which, contrary to much received opinion, attest to both the considerable impact that Schoenberg had upon his newly adopted land and his own deep involvement in its musical life.
The essays, which make up the first part of the book, begin with Leon Botstein's inquiry into the reception of Dvorák's work in German-speaking Europe, in England, and in America. Commenting on the relationship between Dvorák and Brahms, David Beveridge offers the first detailed portrait of perhaps the most interesting artistic friendship of the era. Joseph Horowitz explores the context in which the "New World" Symphony was premiered a century ago, offering an absorbing account of New York musical life at that time. In discussing Dvorák as a composer of operas, Jan Smaczny provides an unexpected slant on the widely held view of him as a "nationalist" composer. Michael Beckerman further investigates this view of Dvorák by raising the question of the role nationalism played in music of the nineteenth century.
The second part of this volume presents Dvorák's correspondence and reminiscences as well as unpublished reviews and criticism from the Czech press. It includes a series of documents from the composer's American years, a translation of the review of Rusalka's premiere with the photographs that accompanied the article, and Janácek's analyses of the symphonic poems. Many of these documents are published in English for the first time.
The essays are complemented by a new selection of criticism and analyses of Brahms's works published by the composer's contemporaries, documenting the ways in which Brahms's music was understood by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century audiences in Europe and North America. A new selection of memoirs by Brahms's friends, students, and early admirers provides intimate glimpses into the composer's working methods and personality. And a catalog of the music, literature, and visual arts dedicated to Brahms documents the breadth of influence exerted by the composer upon his contemporaries.