Thursday, April 11, 2013

Clive on atonal music...

An episode called “The Popular Age” was a welcome development in Howard Goodall’s vast yet neat Story of Music (BBC Two), but he was uncharacteristically mealy mouthed when he allowed himself to suggest that atonal music was “a jagged and discordant reflection of a changing world.”

The world was changing just as fast in Beethoven’s time but he wrote melodies. Some of them were difficult but they all appealed to the alert ear eventually, whereas the plunks and bloops of late Schoenberg still appeal to nobody except musicologists.