Schoenberg's Red Gaze
One of my early tactics for exploring music was to simply find recordings with orchestra and chorus. I sang in choirs all through high school and college, so I was into works with chorus. I found Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony and it fueled my search. Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 followed.
Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht
I was on a role until I picked up a recording of Moses und Aron by Anton Schoenberg. The role stopped and I ducked Schoenberg for another twenty years. Apparently it was a traumatic event.
While I still avoid Moses und Aron like the plagues of Egypt, I have become a fan of early Schoenberg pieces such as Verklärte Nacht and Pélleas und Melisande. While these pieces are somewhat unique they fall under the heading of Wagnerian when it comes to their chromaticism.
Schoenberg went on to found a new school of musical composition known as serialism. It was innovative and it has its adherents, but I find it to be of no use.
Verklärte Nacht in particular is so charming because Schoenberg was inspired to write it after falling in love with a woman. The piece is based on a poem of the same name.
The music is so full of Schoenberg’s truth that I find it to be almost overwhelming. Perhaps I need to find a summer love. On second thought I’ll just listen to Verklärte Nacht again.