V017: The Language of New Music

Non-commercial, 3/4 in. (PAL) color, 67:41.
Non-commercial, 3/4 in. (NTSC) color, 67:41.
Non-commercial, VHS (PAL) color, 2:58:13 (Gift of Henk Guittart). Includes a non-commercial recording of Moses und Aron, directed by Jean-Marie Straub.  See V010 for complete description.

Commercially available through Allegro Films, copyright 1985 from Allegro Films London. Taped from British Television Channel 4 (19 Oct. 1986). – In English. – Written by Michael and Christopher Nupen. Directed by Christopher Nupen. Produced by Allegro Films London for ZDF Mainz, ORF Vienna, Channel Four Television. – Schönberg's Piano Piece op. 11, No.3 and Prelude, op. 25 performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy. Third Movement from Schönberg's string quartet No. 4 op. 37 and excerpts from the String Trio, op. 45 performed by the Allegri string quartet (1:07:13).

Time Visual
0:00 Commercials.
2:47 Views of Vienna: Rathaus, statues, staircase and ceiling mural of Court Opera. Bells tolling. Narrations begins. Strains of  Verklärte Nacht in the background.
3:48 View of photographs of several Viennese luminaries: Karl Kraus, Robert Musil, Georg Trakl, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
5:00 Titles: "The Language of the New Music." With Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Allegri string quartet. Verklärte Nacht still playing in the background. View of staircase.
5:26 Wittgenstein quote projected: "I said once, perhaps rightly, the earlier culture will become a heap of rubble and finally a heap of ashes, but spirits will hover over the ashes." Schönberg's music plays in the background. Narration notes that both Schönberg and Wittgenstein attempted to analyze and purify language. Return to photographs.
6:30 Exterior views of buildings in Vienna. Schönberg string quartet playing in the background.
7:11 Wittgenstein quote: "The limits of my language are the limits of my work."
7:35 Mention of Adolf Loos. Shot of poster of Looshaus am Michaelerplatz. Views of buildings on the Ringstrasse in Vienna. Narration describes opposition to "Ringstraßen- Stil." Schönberg string quartet still playing in background.
8:50 Change to views of Otto Wagner's Postsparkasse building. Narration turns to a discussion of Otto Wagner, calling him the father of modern architecture. Schönberg atring quartet still playing in background.
9:25 Discussion turns to Adolf Loos. Views of unnamed building designed by him.
9:39 Change to view of painting "Judith" by Gustav Klimt. Narration talks about Klimt and the painters of the Secession movement. Various photographs of Klimt and other painters.
10:00 Exterior views of Secession building. Narration describes how building fits in with principles of the artists.
10:15 Narration returns to painting of Gustav Klimt. Views of various paintings. "The search for a new language and meaning in art."
10:43 Mention of Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. View of paintings by both, and photographs of both. Schönberg piano piece (op. 11, no. 3?) beginsin the background.
11:22 View of one of Schönberg's self-portraits and other paintings. Photographs of Schönberg at his desk. Narration discusses Schönberg's contribution to the artistic foment in Vienna.
12:32 Narration claims that the aims of Schönberg's art were best articulated in the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Change to photographs of Wittgenstein as adult, infant, and child. Schönberg's Verklärte Nacht resumes in the background. Views of sumptuous Wittgenstein family home. Photos of Wittgenstein's parents, Karl Wittgenstein's business colleagues. Photos of Joachim Quartet, Johannes Brahms with 3 female companions, of Karl Wittgenstein as a young man, young Ludwig Wittgenstein at a formal dinner. Narration claims Wittgenstein anonymously gave most of his fortune away to struggling artists such as Georg Trakl, Rainer Marie Rilke, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. Photo of Wittgenstein in a rowboat on a lake. Views of hut in Norway where Wittgenstein wrote Tractatus logico-philosophicus. Schönberg's 2nd string quartet begins in background. Views of outdoor setting of Wittgenstein's hut. Narration describes Wittgenstein's philosophy.
16:09 Wittgenstein quote: "Philosophy must set limits to what can be thought; and in so doing, to what cannot be thought. It will signify what cannot be said, by presenting clearly what can be said."
16:40 Narration describes how Wittgenstein wrote to Bertrand Russell while a prisoner of war in World War I. Photo of Wittgenstein as a young man. Narration gives long quote from a 1918 letter to Russell concerning the Tractatus. Cut to view of manuscript of the Tractatus. Narration describes form of the work as an attempt to define the limits of the sayable.
18:53 Wittgenstein quote: "If only one does not try to utter the unutterable, then nothing will be lost." Return to views of Norway and photos of Wittgenstein while narration quotes from Tractatus. A Schönberg string quartet echoes in the background.
19:42 Wittgenstein quote: "Whereof one cannot speak, one must be silent." Nature views continue. Return to views of manuscript.
20:33 Wittgenstein quote: "The point of the book is an ethical one." Return to views of manuscript, then several photographs of Wittgenstein. Narration describes his views on art, then mentions Arnold Schönberg.
21:30 Schönberg quote projected: "Music is not merely another kind of amusement, but a musical thinker's representation of musical ideas; and these ideas must correspond to the laws of human logic." Photos of Schönberg. Narration observes that just as Wittgenstein sought the logic of language, Schönberg sought the logic of musical language. Narration describes Schönberg as the "autodidact who became one of the most inspired pedagogues of his time."
22:53 Photos of Vienna streets. Schönberg's Verklärte Nacht resumes in the background. Family photos of Schönberg as a child and a young man. Narration mentions Verklärte Nacht. Photos of Schönberg and family in Los Angeles (most by Richard Fish) shown as music plays. Photos of Schönberg drawings and paintings.
24:59 Schönberg quote: "How words are understood is not told by words alone." Photos of Schönberg. Narration notes that Wittgenstein's words describe what Schönberg was trying to accomplish in his atonal music after 1909. Narration quotes Kandinsky.
25:45 Film of Vladimir Ashkenazy performing Schönberg's op. 11, No. 3 (1909). Schönberg quote projected over ending shot: "I am conscious of having broken through all the fetters of a bygone aesthetic."
28:47 Commercials.
31:33 Program resumes. Shot of autograph of op. 11, No. 3, dated 7 August 1909. Narration calls this piece Schönberg's first atonal work. Photos of Schönberg. Narration tells how Schönberg felt he was the next logical step in the evolution of Western music. Views of Schönberg's painting. Schönberg string quartet strikes up in the background.
33:08 Photo of Viennese street in World War I. Photos of wartime in Europe. Photos of Schönberg. Narration quotes from a Schönberg letter to Kandinsky about his devastation at the "overturning of everything one has believed in." Schönberg string quartet resumes. More photos of war devastation. Narration notes how both Wittgenstein and Schönberg fell silent during and after the war.
34:30 Photo of Wittgenstein; narration talks about Wittgenstein and his life. Wittgenstein gave up philosophy because he felt he had solved the problems he had set out to solve. He became a schoolteacher in rural Austria for the rest of his life; photos of the school where he taught, Volksschule Otterthal. Photos of Wittgenstein with his students, views of exterior and setting of school.
35:59 Photo of Wittgenstein with two architects, one of them Paul Engelmann. Narration describes how Wittgenstein helped design a house for his sister Margarethe in 1928. Views of house. Photos of Wittgenstein and his sister. Narration describes how Wittgenstein eventually assumed control of the project, and started to call himself an architect. Photos of building and design drawing.
36:43 Wittgenstein quote: "Remember the impression one gets from good architecture; that it expresses a thought. It makes one want to respond with a gesture." Schönberg string quartet plays in background as interior and exterior of house are shown. Narration describes how house embodies the logical rigor of his thinking. Schönberg string quartet keeps playing as we see more of the interiors of the house.
39:15 Shot of chapel of King's College, Cambridge. Narration notes that Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge in 1929, where he had studied with Bertrand Russell from 1911-1913. Shots of Cambridge, photo of Russell and Wittgenstein walking together in Cambridge. Narration says that Wittgenstein had an important influence on Russell's thought during his second visit.
40:03 Wittgenstein quote: "I was unclear in the Tractatus about logical analysis and the clarification which it gives. I used to think that there was a direct connection between language and reality." More shots of Cambridge, photos of Wittgenstein. Narration describes new theory: empirical investigation of the way in which language functions in society, as a part of human life.
41:24 Wittgenstein quote: "To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life." More shots of Cambridge. Narration says that Wittgenstein wanted to publish earlier and later works together, as he felt that one was the extension of the other.
42:33 Wittgenstein quote: "Philosophy, as we use the word, is a fight against the fascination which forms of expression exert upon us." More shots of Cambridge. Narration says that Wittgenstein felt that society was deteriorating. Male chorus singing plainsong in Latin plays in background. Narration describes how Wittgenstein uses music as an example of his philosophy.
45:17 Back to Schönberg. Photo of Schönberg and Zemlinsky, Schönberg walking with Rufer and other students and friends. Narration notes that Schönberg's ideas were also running in the same direction as Wittgenstein's. Schönberg derived new order for music: the twelve-tone method. In 1921, Schönberg composed the Prelude to the op. 25 Piano Suite, the first twelve-tone piece. Piece starts playing in background. Photos of Schönberg and family boating on the Traunsee, and of their villa on the lake.
46:35 Schönberg quote: "I called this procedure Method of Composing with Twelve Tones which are Related Only to One Another." Photos of Schönberg.
47:25 Visual of diatonic scale, with chromatic scale beneath, then the row of the Prelude, op. 25 beneath.
47:51 Film of Schönberg talking to two people, overlooking the beach at Santa Monica.
48:30 Schönberg quote: "This music was distinctly a product of evolution, and no more revolutionary than any other development in the history of music."
48:39 Film of Vladmir Ashkenazy performing the Prelude from the op. 25 Piano Suite (1921).
49:32 Schönberg quote: "Composition with Twelve Tones has no other aim than comprehensibility." Photos of Schönberg. Narration quotes from Schönberg, complaining about how poorly received his twelve-tone music was.
50:00 Film of Schönberg talking to two people.
50:35 Schönberg quote: "Others conserve bad things. I am conservative too. But I, I conserve the progress." More photos of Schönberg. Narration talks about how Schönberg wanted to contribute to musical tradition.
51:05 Schönberg quote: "I do not attach so much importance to being a musical bogeyman as to being a natural continuer of properly understood good old tradition." More photos of Schönberg, conducting, talking with musicians, etc.
51:44 Return to views of the interior of the Vienna State Opera, ceiling, staircase, etc.; bells tolling in the background.
52:23 Schönberg quote: "I was a conservative who was forced to become a revolutionary; but what I did was neither revolution nor anarchy." More photos of Schönberg, as an old man. Narration notes that Schönberg was fired from his post in Berlin, and forced to flee for his life.
52:57 Narration describes Schönberg's return to Judaism. Photo of document commemorating this occaision, signed by Marc Chagall and others. More photos of Schönberg.
53:40 Schönberg quote: "I venture to credit myself with truly new music which, being based on tradition, is destined to become tradition." More photos of Schönbergs. Narration notes that the Largo of Schönberg's Fourth string quartet shows echoes of Jewish music.
54:33 Film of Allegri string quartet playing Largo of Schönberg's Fourth string quartet (1936).
1:02:11 Schönberg quote: "The Method of Composing with Twelve Notes grew out of necessity." More photos of Schönberg. Narrations quotes Schönberg, worried about resistance to his music.
1:02:50 Return to views of the Ringstrasse, in falling snow; return to opening photo of Wittgenstein and Schönberg.
1:03:48 Wittgenstein quote: "Perhaps, one day, this civilisation will produce a culture. When that happens, there will be a real history of the discoveries of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries." Film of people walking in the snow on the Ringstraße. Photos of Schönberg and Wittgenstein. Narration notes that both men never compromised, and both men died in 1951, in exile. The Largo from Schönberg's Fourth string quartet strikes up in the background. Return to shot of staircase shown at opening of film (perhaps of house Wittgenstein designed for his sister?).
1:06:53 Wittgenstein quote: "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by language."
1:07:03 Closing titles: "ARNOLD Schönberg. Vienna 1874-Los Angeles 1951. LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN. Vienna 1889-Cambridge 1951."
1:07:13 Credits.