Related Story: HEAR Modern Music 4 (Schoenberg)

Arnold Schoenberg, from Five Pieces for Orchestra, 1909. The Cleveland Orchestra. Christoph von Dohnányi. London / Decca, 1997.


This means that Schonberg [] realizes that the greatest freedom of all, the freedom of an unfettered art, can never be absolute. Every age achieves a certain measure of this freedom, but beyond the boundaries of its freedom the mightiest genius can never go. But the measure of freedom of each age must be constantly enlarged. Schonberg [] is endeavouring to make complete use of his freedom and has already discovered gold mines of new beauty in his search for spiritual harmony. His music leads us into a realm where musical experience is a matter not of the ear but of the soul alone—and from this point begins the music of the future.



Music played a tremendous role in Kandinsky's conception of art and its purpose, and he discussed music extensively in Concerning the Spiritual in Art. He held music to be the most pure art form because it was tied to nothing but itself. In his attempts to free painting from "merely" imitating nature, he repeatedly turned to music as example and analogy. In the same way that musical notes or keys could bring about certain emotions, so too could certain colors. Compositions could be riotous or calm, improvisations or studies.

From the Closer Look in the Art Institute of Chicago app, available for iOS devices through the iTunes Store.