Reich on modernism and tonality

American composer Steve Reich on Schoenberg and his compositional style:

Schönberg is the beginning of the death of German Romanticism. It’s about deciding that we didn’t need harmonic organization. But this was music for a small cadre of listeners. I think Schönberg said, “In fifty years, the postman will whistle my tunes.” Well, it’s been over a hundred years, and there is no postman on earth who whistles his tunes. There never will be a postman who whistles his music. Now this doesn’t mean Schönberg wasn’t a great composer – he is. But he’s in a dark corner and always will be.

What I and other people did was not a revolution. It was a restoration of harmony, of rhythm in a new way. We also recognized that there has always been a connection in Western music between popular music and classical music.

Source: “Beethovenfest”, Deutsche Well, 27 September 2011 (accessed 1 October 2011)