"My goal: complete liberation from form and symbols, context and logic.
Away with motivic work!
Away with harmony as the cement of my architecture!
Harmony is expression and nothing more.
Away with pathos!
Away with 24 pound protracted scores!
My music must be short.
Lean! In two notes, not built, but “expressed”.
And the result is, I hope, without stylized and sterilized drawn-out sentiment.
That is not how man feels; it is impossible to feel only one emotion.
Man has many feelings, thousands at a time, and these feelings add up no more than apples and pears add up. Each goes its own way.
This multicoloured, polymorphic, illogical nature of our feelings, and their associations, a rush of blood, reactions in our senses, in our nerves; I must have this in my music.
It should be an expression of feeling, as if really were the feeling, full of unconscious connections, not some perception of “conscious logic”.
Now I have said it, and they may burn me. "
-- Arnold Schoenberg in a letter to Ferruccio Busoni, 1909.
Tyler Versluis is a composer and pianist.