From the ladder to the mountain : Arnold Schoenberg's religious odyssey.
The study traces Arnold Schoenberg's spiritual journey as he moves from his oratorio Die Jakobsleiter, through his nonmusical drama Der biblische Weg to the opera Moses und Aron. These works span the years from approximately 1915 to 1933, the period which coincides not only with Schoenberg's religious shift from Lutheranism to Judaism but also with the appearance of his early dodecaphonic works. It is argued that the works of this period, the religious shift and his conception of twelve-tone serialism are all deeply and inextricably connected. This study, with support from Schoenberg's writings, postulates that twelve tone serialism, the technique with which the name of Schoenberg is associated, was not an inevitable solution to the chromatic saturation of musical composition at the end of the nineteenth century, but that it was shaped by the composer's spiritual needs and by the fact that he lived in Europe during one of the most turbulent periods of her history. The dissertation approaches the topic from the perspective of Schoenberg, the assimilated Jewish artist in late-Romantic Vienna, who moves through various stages of eclectic religious beliefs, arriving finally at an acceptance of the monotheistic concept of the Jewish God. Various correspondences emerge between Schoenberg's religion and his music: the artist/genius as prophet whose mission it is to elevate the people; the idea of progress and the artist's obligation to create new art; the God Idea and prayer as it relates to the musical Idea (the Gedanke) and ultimately the idea of One God, the Mosaic Law and the Twelve-tone Row.