Sunday, May 07, 2006

Schoenberg est vivant

Amused by Alex Ross's recent post about Arnold Schoenberg's car troubles in 1934, I poked around the Schoenberg center's web site, and found that they offer Schoenberg t-shirts for sale. For only 6.50 euros, you can get a shirt with the maestro's head on it, or even one that reads, "Der Mittelweg ist der einzige Weg, der nicht nach Rom führt." (My German is pretty bad, but I think this is Arnie's famous quote that "The middle road is the only one that does not lead to Rome.")

The Schoenberg Center, incidentally, used to be located here in Los Angeles, in a special purpose-built location on the USC campus. Then the money-grubbing Schoenberg heirs got into a financial dispute with USC, and took all of the materials back to Vienna. They are a rough group, those Schoenbergs. At UCLA, the music building is called Schoenberg Hall. Supposedly, a few years back the music department got a big donation to refurbish the main concert hall in the building, but ended up having to reject the donation because the Schoenberg heirs wouldn't let them rename the hall--not the entire building, mind you, just the name of one of the two concert halls inside.

Considering that John Cage, LaMonte Young, and Harry Partch all had important and more appreciative experiences at UCLA as well, I think we should rename the building after one of them.

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