Arnold Schoenberg, The Composer as Numerologist

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The pervasive influence of numerology on Arnold Schoenberg's private life is a matter of record. But might his curious faith in the power of numbers have influenced his art as well? The author proposes that indeed it did, and that all of the music of Schoenberg, in all of its aspects, was consciously and deliberately organized by the composer according to the procedures of traditional numerology.


"The rigour of these investigations inevitably makes for hard reading, which is worth the effort, since Sterne writes with modesty and as much lucidity as the subject permits. He demonstrates that, if the topic is approached in historical context (in relation, particularly, to Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven), the logic of Schoenberg's course, and the necessity for his hermeticism, are intelligible, and therefore acceptable. . . . .We owe a debt to Colin Sterne for revealing how Schoenberg had the courage to carry to its ultimate the course hinted at by his classical predecessors. . . " - Wilfrid Mellers in the Times Literary Supplement

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