Private Legal Theory Performances

After various tumultuous performances of works of members the Viennese school, the composer Arnold Schönberg, decided to abstain from further presenting modern music publicly. Withdrawing from the concert business he created, instead, the Society of Private Musical Performances, which provided—for a limited number of years only (1918-1921)—the base for the performance of contemporary music. Older works were also played, however, in adapted form in order to fit the chamber music format.

In a similar vein, I am organizing gatherings of more junior scholars in order to discuss work in progress among a small group of initiates. The discussions observe roughly the structure of the famous Iowa Writers Workshop: All participants have to have read the paper in advance. In the first round, everyone must provide a summary of what they took to be the major claim or thrust of the paper; in the second round, the group engages in a critical discussion of the claims made by the authors.

With Schönberg’s example in mind, I have decided to call these gatherings Private Legal Theory Performances. Attendance is by invitation only.