Arnold Schoenberg
Overview
 
Arnold Schoenberg (ˈaːʁnɔlt ˈʃøːnbɛʁk; 13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) was an Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School
Second Viennese School
The Second Viennese School is the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils and close associates in early 20th century Vienna, where he lived and taught, sporadically, between 1903 and 1925...

. He used the spelling Schönberg until after his move to the United States in 1934 (Steinberg 1995, 463), whereupon he altered it to Schoenberg "in deference to American practice" (Foss 1951, 401), though one writer claims he made the change a year earlier (Ross 2007, 45).

Schoenberg's approach, both in terms of harmony and development, is among the major landmarks of 20th-century musical thought; at least three generations of composers in the European and American traditions have consciously extended his thinking or, in some cases, passionately reacted against it.
Quotations

I am the slave of an internal power more powerful than my education.

If music is frozen architecture|architecture, then the Potpourri(music)|potpourri is frozen coffee-table gossip... Potpourri is the art of adding apples to pears…

Arnold Schoenberg: "Glosses on the Theories of Others" (1929), See "Style and Idea", Faber and Faber 1985, p.313-314

My music is not difficult, my music is played badly.

Encyclopedia
Arnold Schoenberg (ˈaːʁnɔlt ˈʃøːnbɛʁk; 13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) was an Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School
Second Viennese School
The Second Viennese School is the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils and close associates in early 20th century Vienna, where he lived and taught, sporadically, between 1903 and 1925...

. He used the spelling Schönberg until after his move to the United States in 1934 (Steinberg 1995, 463), whereupon he altered it to Schoenberg "in deference to American practice" (Foss 1951, 401), though one writer claims he made the change a year earlier (Ross 2007, 45).

Schoenberg's approach, both in terms of harmony and development, is among the major landmarks of 20th-century musical thought; at least three generations of composers in the European and American traditions have consciously extended his thinking or, in some cases, passionately reacted against it. During the rise of the Nazi Party in Austria, his music was labeled, alongside jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, as degenerate art
Degenerate art
Degenerate art is the English translation of the German entartete Kunst, a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe virtually all modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were...

.

Schoenberg was widely known early in his career for his success in simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic
German Romanticism
For the general context, see Romanticism.In the philosophy, art, and culture of German-speaking countries, German Romanticism was the dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. German Romanticism developed relatively late compared to its English counterpart, coinciding in its...

 styles of Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify pioneering innovations in atonality
Atonality
Atonality in its broadest sense describes music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality in this sense usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale...

 that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique
Twelve-tone technique
Twelve-tone technique is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg...

, a widely influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series
Tone row
In music, a tone row or note row , also series and set, refers to a non-repetitive ordering of a set of pitch-classes, typically of the twelve notes in musical set theory of the chromatic scale, though both larger and smaller sets are sometimes found.-History and usage:Tone rows are the basis of...

 of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale
Chromatic scale
The chromatic scale is a musical scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone apart. On a modern piano or other equal-tempered instrument, all the half steps are the same size...

. He also coined the term developing variation
Developing variation
In music composition, developing variation is a formal technique in which the concepts of development and variation are united in that variations are produced through the development of existing material....

, and was the first modern composer to embrace ways of developing motifs
Motif (music)
In music, a motif or motive is a short musical idea, a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition....

 without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea.

Schoenberg was also a painter, an important music theorist, and an influential teacher of composition; his students included Alban Berg
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

, Anton Webern
Anton Webern
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of...

, Hanns Eisler
Hanns Eisler
Hanns Eisler was an Austrian composer.-Family background:Eisler was born in Leipzig where his Jewish father, Rudolf Eisler, was a professor of philosophy...

, Egon Wellesz
Egon Wellesz
Egon Joseph Wellesz was an Austrian-born British composer, teacher and musicologist, notable particularly in the field of Byzantine music.- Life :...

, and later John Cage
John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...

, Lou Harrison
Lou Harrison
Lou Silver Harrison was an American composer. He was a student of Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and K. P. H. Notoprojo Lou Silver Harrison (May 14, 1917 – February 2, 2003) was an American composer. He was a student of Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and K. P. H. Notoprojo Lou Silver Harrison...

, Earl Kim
Earl Kim
Earl Kim was a Korean-American composer.Kim was born in Dinuba, California, to immigrant Korean parents. He began piano studies at age ten and soon developed an interest in composition, studying in Los Angeles and Berkeley with, among others, Arnold Schoenberg, Ernest Bloch, and Roger Sessions...

, and many other prominent musicians. Many of Schoenberg's practices, including the formalization of compositional method, and his habit of openly inviting audiences to think analytically, are echoed in avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 musical thought throughout the 20th century. His often polemical views of music history and aesthetics were crucial to many of the 20th century's significant musicologists and critics, including Theodor Adorno, Charles Rosen
Charles Rosen
Charles Rosen is an American pianist and author on music.-Life and career:In his youth he studied piano with Moriz Rosenthal. Rosenthal, born in 1862, had been a student of Franz Liszt...

, and Carl Dahlhaus
Carl Dahlhaus
Carl Dahlhaus , a musicologist from Berlin, was one of the major contributors to the development of musicology as a scholarly discipline during the post-war era....

. His thought also had a considerable influence on the pianists Rudolf Serkin
Rudolf Serkin
Rudolf Serkin , was a Bohemian-born pianist.-Life and early career:Serkin was born in Eger, Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire to a Russian-Jewish family....

, Artur Schnabel
Artur Schnabel
Artur Schnabel was an Austrian classical pianist, who also composed and taught. Schnabel was known for his intellectual seriousness as a musician, avoiding pure technical bravura...

, and Eduard Steuermann
Eduard Steuermann
Eduard Steuermann was an Austrian pianist and composer. The actress Salka Viertel was his sister...

, and, later, Glenn Gould
Glenn Gould
Glenn Herbert Gould was a Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was particularly renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach...

.

Schoenberg's archival legacy is collected at the Arnold Schönberg Center
Arnold Schönberg Center
The Arnold Schönberg Center, established in 1998 in Vienna, is a unique repository of Arnold Schönberg's archival legacy and a cultural center that is open to the public.-Activities:...

 in Vienna.

Biography

Arnold Schoenberg was born into a lower middle-class Jewish family in the Leopoldstadt
Leopoldstadt
Leopoldstadt is the 2nd municipal District of Vienna . There are inhabitants over . It is situated in the heart of the city and, together with Brigittenau , forms a large island surrounded by the Danube Canal and, to the north, the Danube. It is named after Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor...

 district (in earlier times a Jewish ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

) of Vienna, at "Obere Donaustraße 5". His father Samuel, a native of Bratislava
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

, was a shopkeeper
Shopkeeper
A shopkeeper is an individual who owns a shop. Generally, shop employees are not shopkeepers, but are often incorrectly referred to as shopkeepers. Today, a shopkeeper is usually referred to as a manager, though this term could apply to larger firms .*In many south asian languages like Hindi, Urdu,...

. Although his mother Pauline, a native of Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, was a piano teacher, Arnold was largely self-taught. He took only counterpoint
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 lessons with the composer Alexander von Zemlinsky
Alexander von Zemlinsky
Alexander Zemlinsky or Alexander von Zemlinsky was an Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher.-Early life:...

, who was to become his first brother-in-law (Beaumont 2000, 87).

In his twenties, Schoenberg earned a living by orchestrating operetta
Operetta
Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is also closely related, in English-language works, to forms of musical theatre.-Origins:...

s, while composing his own works, such as the string sextet Verklärte Nacht
Verklärte Nacht
Verklärte Nacht , Op. 4, is a string sextet in one movement composed by Arnold Schoenberg in 1899 and his earliest important work...

("Transfigured Night") (1899). He later made an orchestral version of this, which became one of his most popular pieces. Both Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

 and Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

 recognized Schoenberg's significance as a composer; Strauss when he encountered Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder
Gurre-Lieder
Gurre-Lieder is a massive cantata for five vocal soloists, narrator, chorus and large orchestra, composed by Arnold Schoenberg, on poems by the Danish novelist Jens Peter Jacobsen...

, and Mahler after hearing several of Schoenberg's early works.

Strauss turned to a more conservative idiom in his own work after 1909 and at that point dismissed Schoenberg. Mahler adopted him as a protégé and continued to support him even after Schoenberg's style reached a point which Mahler could no longer understand; Mahler worried about who would look after him after his death. Schoenberg, who had initially despised and mocked Mahler's music, was converted by the "thunderbolt" of Mahler's Third Symphony
Symphony No. 3 (Mahler)
The Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler was written between 1893 and 1896. It is his longest piece and is the longest symphony in the standard repertoire, with a typical performance lasting around ninety to one hundred minutes.- Structure :...

, which he considered a work of genius. Afterward he "spoke of Mahler as a saint" (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 103; Schoenberg 1975, 136).

In 1898 Schoenberg converted to Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

. He would remain Lutheran until 1933.

During the summer of 1908, his wife Mathilde left him for several months for a young Austrian painter, Richard Gerstl
Richard Gerstl
Richard Gerstl was an Austrian painter and draughtsman known for his expressive psychologically insightful portraits, his lack of critical acclaim during his lifetime, and his affair with the wife of Arnold Schoenberg which led to his suicide.Richard Gerstl was born in a prosperous civil family,...

. This period marked a distinct change in Schoenberg's work. It was during the absence of his wife that he composed "You lean against a silver-willow" , the thirteenth song in the cycle Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten, Op. 15, based on the collection of the same name by the German mystical poet Stefan George
Stefan George
Stefan Anton George was a German poet, editor, and translator.-Biography:George was born in Bingen in Germany in 1868. He spent time in Paris, where he was among the writers and artists who attended the Tuesday soireés held by the poet Stéphane Mallarmé. He began to publish poetry in the 1890s,...

. This was the first composition without any reference at all to a key (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 96). Also in this year, he completed one of his most revolutionary compositions, the String Quartet No. 2
String quartets (Schoenberg)
The Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg published four string quartets, distributed over his lifetime. These were the String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, Op. 7 , String Quartet No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 10 , String Quartet No. 3, Op. 30 , and the String Quartet No. 4, Op...

, whose first two movements, though chromatic in color, use traditional key signatures, yet whose final two movements, also settings of George, daringly weaken the links with traditional tonality. Both movements end on tonic chords, and the work is not fully non-tonal. Breaking with previous string-quartet practice, it incorporates a soprano vocal line.

During the summer of 1910, Schoenberg wrote his Harmonielehre (Theory of Harmony, Schoenberg 1922), which remains one of the most influential music-theory books. From about 1911, Schönberg belonged to a circle of artists and intellectuals who included Lene Schneider-Kainer
Lene Schneider-Kainer
Lene Schneider-Kainer, born Lene Schneider , was a Jewish-Austrian painter, daughter of the painter Sigmund Schneider, noted for her illustration of "Lukian:Hetärengespräche...

, Franz Werfel
Franz Werfel
Franz Werfel was an Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet.- Biography :Born in Prague , Werfel was the first of three children of a wealthy manufacturer of gloves and leather goods. His mother, Albine Kussi, was the daughter of a mill owner...

, Herwarth Walden
Herwarth Walden
Herwarth Walden was a German Expressionist artist and art expert in many disciplines...

 and the latter's wife, Else Lasker-Schüler
Else Lasker-Schüler
Else Lasker-Schüler was a Jewish German poet and playwright famous for her bohemian lifestyle in Berlin. She was one of the few women affiliated with the Expressionist movement. Lasker-Schüler fled Nazi Germany and lived out the rest of her life in Jerusalem.-Biography:Schüler was born in...

.

Another of his most important works from this atonal or pantonal period is the highly influential Pierrot Lunaire
Pierrot Lunaire
Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds 'Pierrot lunaire' , commonly known simply as Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 , is a melodrama by Arnold Schoenberg...

, Op. 21, of 1912, a novel cycle of expressionist songs set to a German translation of poems by the Belgian-French poet Albert Giraud
Albert Giraud
Albert Giraud , was a Belgian poet who wrote in French.-Biography:Giraud was born Emile Albert Kayenbergh in Leuven, Belgium. He studied law at the University of Louvain. He left university without a degree and took up journalism and poetry...

. Utilizing the technique of Sprechstimme, or melodramatically spoken recitation, the work pairs a female vocalist with a small ensemble of five musicians. The ensemble, which is now commonly referred to as the Pierrot ensemble
Pierrot ensemble
A Pierrot ensemble is a musical ensemble comprising flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, frequently augmented by the addition of a singer or percussionist, and/or by the performers doubling on other woodwind/stringed/keyboard instruments.-History:...

, consists of flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

 (doubling on piccolo
Piccolo
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The piccolo has the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written...

), clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

 (doubling on bass clarinet
Bass clarinet
The bass clarinet is a musical instrument of the clarinet family. Like the more common soprano B clarinet, it is usually pitched in B , but it plays notes an octave below the soprano B clarinet...

), violin (doubling on viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

), violoncello, speaker, and piano.

Wilhelm Bopp, director of the Vienna Conservatory from 1907, wanted a break from the stale environment personified for him by Robert Fuchs
Robert Fuchs
Robert Fuchs was an Austrian composer and music teacher.As Professor of music theory at the Vienna Conservatory, Fuchs taught many notable composers, while he was himself a highly regarded composer in his lifetime....

 and Hermann Grädener
Hermann Graedener (composer)
Hermann Graedener or Grädener was a German composer, conductor and teacher.-Biography:He was born in Kiel, Germany. He was educated by his father, composer Karl Graedener. He then studied at the Vienna Conservatory. From 1862 he was organist at the Lutheran City Church in Vienna, and from 1864...

. Having considered many candidates, he offered teaching positions to Schoenberg and Franz Schreker
Franz Schreker
Franz Schreker was an Austrian composer, conductor, teacher and administrator. Primarily a composer of operas, his style is characterized by aesthetic plurality , timbral experimentation, strategies of extended tonality and...

 in 1912. At the time Schoenberg lived in Berlin. He was not completely cut off from the Vienna Conservatory, having taught a private theory course a year earlier. He seriously considered the offer, but he declined. Writing afterward to Alban Berg, he cited his "aversion to Vienna" as the main reason for his decision, while contemplating that it might have been the wrong one financially, but having made it he felt content. A couple of months later he wrote to Schreker suggesting that it might have been a bad idea for him as well to accept the teaching position (Hailey 1993, 55–57).

World War I brought a crisis in his development. Military service disrupted his life when at the age of 42 he was in the army. He was never able to work uninterrupted or over a period of time, and as a result he left many unfinished works and undeveloped "beginnings". On one occasion, a superior officer demanded to know if he was "this notorious Schoenberg, then"; Schoenberg replied: "Beg to report, sir, yes. Nobody wanted to be, someone had to be, so I let it be me" (Schoenberg 1975, 104) (according to Norman Lebrecht
Norman Lebrecht
Norman Lebrecht is a British commentator on music and cultural affairs and a novelist. He was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph from 1994 until 2002 and assistant editor of the Evening Standard from 2002 until 2009...

 (2001), this is a reference to Schoenberg's apparent "destiny" as the "Emancipator of Dissonance"
Emancipation of the dissonance
The emancipation of the dissonance was a concept or goal put forth by composer Arnold Schoenberg and others, including his pupil Anton Webern. The phrase first appears in Schoenberg's 1926 essay "Opinion or Insight?". It may be described as a metanarrative to justify atonality...

).

Later, Schoenberg was to develop the most influential version of the dodecaphonic (also known as twelve-tone
Twelve-tone technique
Twelve-tone technique is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg...

) method of composition, which in French and English was given the alternative name serialism
Serialism
In music, serialism is a method or technique of composition that uses a series of values to manipulate different musical elements. Serialism began primarily with Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique, though his contemporaries were also working to establish serialism as one example of...

 by René Leibowitz
René Leibowitz
René Leibowitz was a French composer, conductor, music theorist and teacher born in Warsaw, Poland.-Career:...

 and Humphrey Searle
Humphrey Searle
Humphrey Searle was a British composer.-Biography:He was born in Oxford where he was a classics scholar before studying — somewhat hesitantly — with John Ireland at the Royal College of Music in London, after which he went to Vienna on a six month scholarship to become a private pupil of Anton...

 in 1947. This technique was taken up by many of his students, who constituted the so-called Second Viennese School
Second Viennese School
The Second Viennese School is the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils and close associates in early 20th century Vienna, where he lived and taught, sporadically, between 1903 and 1925...

. They included Anton Webern
Anton Webern
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of...

, Alban Berg
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

 and Hanns Eisler
Hanns Eisler
Hanns Eisler was an Austrian composer.-Family background:Eisler was born in Leipzig where his Jewish father, Rudolf Eisler, was a professor of philosophy...

, all of whom were profoundly influenced by Schoenberg. He published a number of books, ranging from his famous Harmonielehre (Theory of Harmony) to Fundamentals of Musical Composition (Schoenberg 1967), many of which are still in print and used by musicians and developing composers.
Schoenberg viewed his development as a natural progression, and he did not deprecate his earlier works when he ventured into serialism. In 1923 he wrote to the Swiss philanthropist Werner Reinhart
Werner Reinhart
Werner Reinhart was a Swiss industrialist, philanthropist, amateur clarinetist, and patron of composers and writers, particularly Igor Stravinsky and Rainer Maria Rilke...

: "For the present, it matters more to me if people understand my older works ... They are the natural forerunners of my later works, and only those who understand and comprehend these will be able to gain an understanding of the later works that goes beyond a fashionable bare minimum. I do not attach so much importance to being a musical bogey-man as to being a natural continuer of properly-understood good old tradition!" (Stein 1987, 100; quoted in Strimple 2005, 22)

Following the 1924 death of composer Ferruccio Busoni
Ferruccio Busoni
Ferruccio Busoni was an Italian composer, pianist, editor, writer, piano and composition teacher, and conductor.-Biography:...

, who had served as Director of a Master Class in Composition at the Prussian Academy of Arts
Prussian Academy of Arts
The Prussian Academy of Arts was an art school set up in Berlin, Brandenburg, in 1694/1696 by prince-elector Frederick III, in personal union Duke Frederick I of Prussia, and later king in Prussia. It had a decisive influence on art and its development in the German-speaking world throughout its...

 in Berlin, Schoenberg was appointed to this post the next year, but because of health problems was unable to take up his post until 1926. Among his notable students during this period were the composers Roberto Gerhard
Roberto Gerhard
Robert Gerhard i Ottenwaelder was a Catalan Spanish composer and musical scholar and writer, generally known outside Catalonia as Robert Gerhard.-Life:...

, Nikos Skalkottas
Nikolaos Skalkottas
Nikos Skalkottas was one of the most important Greek composers of 20th-century music. A member of the Second Viennese School, he drew his influences from both the classical repertoire and the Greek tradition....

, and Josef Rufer
Josef Rufer
Josef Rufer was an Austrian-born musicologist. He is regarded as a significant figure mainly on account of his association with and writings on Arnold Schoenberg....

.

Schoenberg continued in his post until the election of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and the Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 in 1933. While vacationing in France, he was warned that returning to Germany would be dangerous. Schoenberg formally reclaimed membership in the Jewish religion at a Paris synagogue, then traveled with his family to the United States (Friedrich 1986, 31). His first teaching position in the United States was at the Malkin Conservatory in Boston. He moved to Los Angeles, where he taught at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 and the University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

, both of which later named a music building on their respective campuses Schoenberg Hall (UCLA Department of Music [2008]; University of Southern California Thornton School of Music [2008]). He settled in Brentwood Park
Brentwood, Los Angeles, California
Brentwood is a district in western Los Angeles, California, United States. The district is located at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, bounded by the San Diego Freeway on the east, Wilshire Boulevard on the south, the Santa Monica city limits on the southwest, the border of Topanga State...

, where he befriended fellow composer (and tennis partner) George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

 and began teaching at UCLA. He lived there the rest of his life. Composers Leonard Rosenman
Leonard Rosenman
Leonard Rosenman was an American film, television and concert composer.-Life and career:Leonard Rosenman was born in Brooklyn, New York. After service in the Pacific with the Army Air Forces in World War II, he earned a bachelor's degree in music from the University of California, Berkeley...

 and George Tremblay
George Tremblay
George Amédée Tremblay was a Canadian composer who was active in the United States. Although his works display a broad range of stylistic influences, he is particularly associated with the twelve-tone technique...

 studied with Schoenberg at this time.

During this final period, he composed several notable works, including the difficult Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Schoenberg)
The Violin Concerto by Arnold Schoenberg dates from Schoenberg's time in the United States, where he had moved in 1933 to escape the Nazis. The piece was written in 1936, the same year as the String Quartet No. 4...

, Op. 36 (1934/36), the Kol Nidre, Op. 39, for chorus and orchestra (1938), the Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, Op. 41 (1942), the haunting Piano Concerto
Piano Concerto (Schoenberg)
Arnold Schoenberg's Piano Concerto, Op. 42 consists of four interconnected movements: Andante , Molto allegro , Adagio , and Giocoso . It features use of the twelve-tone technique and only one tone row, though he does at points take some liberties with the permutation of the row...

, Op. 42 (1942), and his memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, A Survivor from Warsaw
A Survivor from Warsaw
A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. 46, is a work for narrator, men's chorus, and orchestra written by the Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg in 1947. The initial inspiration for the work was a suggestion from the Russian émigrée dancer Corinne Chochem for a work to pay tribute to the Holocaust victims of...

, Op. 46 (1947). He was unable to complete his opera Moses und Aron
Moses und Aron
Moses und Aron is a three-act opera by Arnold Schoenberg with the third act unfinished. The German libretto was by the composer after the Book of Exodus.-Compositional history:...

(1932/33), which was one of the first works of its genre to be written completely using dodecaphonic composition
Twelve-tone technique
Twelve-tone technique is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg...

. In 1941, he became a citizen of the United States. During this period, his notable students included John Cage
John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...

, Lou Harrison
Lou Harrison
Lou Silver Harrison was an American composer. He was a student of Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and K. P. H. Notoprojo Lou Silver Harrison (May 14, 1917 – February 2, 2003) was an American composer. He was a student of Henry Cowell, Arnold Schoenberg, and K. P. H. Notoprojo Lou Silver Harrison...

, and H. Owen Reed
H. Owen Reed
Herbert Owen Reed is an American composer, conductor, and author.-Education:Reed was raised in rural Odessa, Missouri, where his first exposure to music was his father's playing of the old-time fiddle...

.

Schoenberg experienced triskaidekaphobia
Triskaidekaphobia
Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number ; it is a superstition and related to a specific fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.The term was first used by Isador Coriat in Abnormal...

 (the fear of the number 13), which possibly began in 1908 with the composition of the thirteenth song of the song cycle Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten
The Book of the Hanging Gardens
Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten is a fifteen-part song cycle composed by Arnold Schoenberg between 1908 and 1909, setting poems of Stefan George. George’s poems, also under the same title, track the failed love affair of two adolescent youths in a garden, ending with the woman’s departure and the...

Op. 15 (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 96). Moses und Aron was originally spelled Moses und Aaron, but when he realised this contained 13 letters, he changed it. His superstitious nature may have triggered his death. According to friend Katia Mann, he feared he would die during a year that was a multiple of 13 (quoted in Lebrecht 1985, 294). He dreaded his sixty-fifth birthday in 1939 so much that a friend asked the composer and astrologer
Astrologer
An astrologer practices one or more forms of astrology. Typically an astrologer draws a horoscope for the time of an event, such as a person's birth, and interprets celestial points and their placements at the time of the event to better understand someone, determine the auspiciousness of an...

 Dane Rudhyar
Dane Rudhyar
Dane Rudhyar , born Daniel Chennevière, was an author, modernist composer and humanistic astrologer. He was the pioneer of modern transpersonal astrology.-Biography:...

 to prepare Schoenberg's horoscope
Horoscope
In astrology, a horoscope is a chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, the astrological aspects, and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person's birth. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words meaning "a look at the hours" In...

. Rudhyar did this and told Schoenberg that the year was dangerous, but not fatal.

But in 1950, on his seventy-sixth birthday, an astrologer wrote Schoenberg a note warning him that the year was a critical one: 7 + 6 = 13 (Nuria Schoenberg-Nono, quoted in Lebrecht 1985, 295). This stunned and depressed the composer, for up to that point he had only been wary of multiples of 13 and never considered adding the digits of his age. On Friday, 13 July 1951, Schoenberg stayed in bed—sick, anxious and depressed. In a letter to Schoenberg's sister Ottilie, dated 4 August 1951, his wife Gertrud reported, "About a quarter to twelve I looked at the clock and said to myself: another quarter of an hour and then the worst is over. Then the doctor called me. Arnold's throat rattled twice, his heart gave a powerful beat and that was the end" (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 521). Gertrud Schoenberg reported the next day in a telegram to her sister-in-law Ottilie that Arnold died at 11:45 pm (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 520).

Works and ideas

Schoenberg's significant compositions in the repertory of modern art music extend over a period of more than 50 years. Traditionally they are divided into three periods though this division is arguably arbitrary as the music in each of these periods is considerably varied. The idea that his twelve-tone period "represents a stylistically unified body of works is simply not supported by the musical evidence" (Haimo 1990, 4), and important musical characteristics—especially those related to motivic development
Motif (music)
In music, a motif or motive is a short musical idea, a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition....

—transcend these boundaries completely. The first of these periods, 1894–1907, is identified in the legacy of the high-Romantic composers of the late nineteenth century, as well as with "expressionist" movements in poetry and art. The second, 1908–1922, is typified by the abandonment of key centers, a move often described (though not by Schoenberg) as "free atonality". The third, from 1923 onward, commences with Schoenberg's invention of dodecaphonic, or "twelve-tone" compositional method. Schoenberg's most well-known students Hans Eisler, Alban Berg
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

, and Anton Webern
Anton Webern
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of...

, followed Schoenberg faithfully through each of these intellectual and aesthetic transitions, though not without considerable experimentation and variety of approach.

Beginning with songs and string quartets written around the turn of the century, Schoenberg's concerns as a composer positioned him uniquely among his peers, in that his procedures exhibited characteristics of both Brahms and Wagner, who for most contemporary listeners, were considered polar opposites, representing mutually exclusive directions in the legacy of German music. Schoenberg's Six Songs, Op. 3 (1899–1903), for example, exhibit a conservative clarity of tonal
Tonality
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

 organization typical of Brahms and Mahler, reflecting an interest in balanced phrases and an undisturbed hierarchy
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

 of key relationships. However, the songs also explore unusually bold incidental chromaticism
Chromaticism
Chromaticism is a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale. Chromaticism is in contrast or addition to tonality or diatonicism...

, and seem to aspire to a Wagnerian "representational" approach to motivic identity. The synthesis of these approaches reaches an apex in his Verklärte Nacht
Verklärte Nacht
Verklärte Nacht , Op. 4, is a string sextet in one movement composed by Arnold Schoenberg in 1899 and his earliest important work...

, Op. 4 (1899), a programmatic
Program music
Program music or programme music is a type of art music that attempts to musically render an extra-musical narrative. The narrative itself might be offered to the audience in the form of program notes, inviting imaginative correlations with the music...

 work for string sextet
String sextet
In classical music, a string sextet is a composition written for six string instruments, or a group of six musicians who perform such a composition. Most string sextets have been written for an ensemble consisting of two violins, two violas, and two cellos....

 that develops several distinctive "leitmotif
Leitmotif
A leitmotif , sometimes written leit-motif, is a musical term , referring to a recurring theme, associated with a particular person, place, or idea. It is closely related to the musical idea of idée fixe...

"-like themes, each one eclipsing and subordinating the last. The only motivic elements that persist throughout the work are those that are perpetually dissolved, varied, and re-combined, in a technique, identified primarily in Brahms's music, that Schoenberg called "developing variation". Schoenberg's procedures in the work are organized in two ways simultaneously; at once suggesting a Wagnerian narrative of motivic ideas, as well as a Brahmsian approach to motivic development and tonal cohesion.
Schoenberg's music from 1908 onward experiments in a variety of ways with the absence of traditional keys or tonal centers. His first explicitly atonal piece was the second string quartet, Op. 10, with soprano. The last movement of this piece has no key signature, marking Schoenberg's formal divorce from diatonic harmonies. Other important works of the era include his song cycle Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten, Op. 15 (1908–1909), his Five Orchestral Pieces, Op. 16 (1909), the disturbing Pierrot Lunaire
Pierrot Lunaire
Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds 'Pierrot lunaire' , commonly known simply as Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 , is a melodrama by Arnold Schoenberg...

, Op. 21 (1912), as well as his dramatic Erwartung
Erwartung
Erwartung , Op.17 is a one-act opera by Arnold Schoenberg to a libretto by Marie Pappenheim. Composed in 1909, it was not premiered until June 6, 1924 in Prague conducted by Alexander Zemlinsky with Marie Gutheil-Schoder as the soprano. The work takes the unusual form of a monologue for solo...

, Op. 17 (1909). The urgency of musical constructions lacking in tonal centers, or traditional dissonance-consonance relationships, however, can be traced as far back as his Kammersymphonie, Op. 9 (1906), a work remarkable for its tonal development of whole-tone and quartal harmony, and its initiation of dynamic and unusual ensemble relationships, involving dramatic interruption and unpredictable instrumental allegiances; many of these features would typify the timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

-oriented chamber music aesthetic of the coming century.
In the early 1920s he worked at evolving a means of order which would enable his musical texture to become simpler and clearer, and this resulted in the "method of composing with twelve tones which are related only with one another" (Schoenberg 1984, 218), in which the twelve pitches of the octave (unrealized compositionally) are regarded as equal, and no one note or tonality is given the emphasis it occupied in classical harmony. He regarded it as the equivalent in music of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

's discoveries in physics. Schoenberg announced it characteristically, during a walk with his friend Josef Rufer, when he said, "I have made a discovery which will ensure the supremacy of German music for the next hundred years" (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 277). This period included the Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31 (1928); Piano Pieces, Opp. 33a & b (1931), and the Piano Concerto, Op. 42 (1942). Contrary to his reputation for strictness, Schoenberg's use of the technique varied widely according to the demands of each individual composition. Thus the structure of his unfinished opera Moses und Aron is unlike that of his Fantasy for Violin and Piano, Op. 47 (1949).

Ten features of Schoenberg's mature twelve-tone practice are characteristic, interdependent, and interactive (Haimo 1990, 41):
  1. Hexachord
    Hexachord
    In music, a hexachord is a collection of six pitch classes including six-note segments of a scale or tone row. The term was adopted in the Middle Ages and adapted in the twentieth-century in Milton Babbitt's serial theory.-Middle Ages:...

    al inversion
    Inversion (music)
    In music theory, the word inversion has several meanings. There are inverted chords, inverted melodies, inverted intervals, and inverted voices...

    al combinatoriality
    Combinatoriality
    In music using the twelve tone technique combinatoriality is a quality shared by some twelve-tone tone rows whereby the row and one of its transformations combine to form a pair of aggregates...

  2. Aggregates
  3. Linear set
    Set (music)
    A set in music theory, as in mathematics and general parlance, is a collection of objects...

     presentation
  4. Partitioning
    Derived row
    The term "partition" is also French for the sheet music of a transcription.In music using the twelve-tone technique, derivation is the construction of a row through segments. A derived row is a tone row whose entirety of twelve tones is constructed from a segment or portion of the whole, the...

  5. Isomorphic partitioning
  6. Invariants
  7. Hexachordal levels
    Level (music)
    A level , also "tonality level", Gerhard Kubik's "tonal step", and John Blacking's "root progression") is a temporary modal frame contrasted with another temporary modal frame built on a different foundation note. It is more general and basic than a chord and is found in Asian, African, and Celtic...

  8. Harmony
    Harmony
    In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

    , "consistent with and derived from the properties of the referential set"
  9. Metre
    Meter (music)
    Meter or metre is a term that music has inherited from the rhythmic element of poetry where it means the number of lines in a verse, the number of syllables in each line and the arrangement of those syllables as long or short, accented or unaccented...

    , established through "pitch-relational characteristics"
  10. Multidimensional
    Simultaneity (music)
    In music, a simultaneity is more than one complete musical texture occurring at the same time, rather than in succession. This first appeared in the music of Charles Ives, and is common in the music of Conlon Nancarrow and others....

     set presentations

Controversies and polemics

Understanding of Schoenberg's twelve-tone work has been difficult to achieve owing in part to the "truly revolutionary nature" of his new system, misinformation disseminated by some early writers about the system's "rules" and "exceptions" which bear "little relation to the most significant features of Schoenberg's music", the composer's secretiveness, and the widespread unavailability of his sketches and manuscripts until the late 1970s. During his life, he was "subjected to a range of criticism and abuse that is shocking even in hindsight" (Haimo 1990, 2–3).

After some understandable early difficulties, Schoenberg began to win public acceptance, with works such as the tone poem Pelleas und Melisande
Pelleas und Melisande
Pelleas und Melisande, a Symphonic Poem for orchestra, is composer Arnold Schoenberg's earliest completed orchestral work, and his opus 5. The work was completed in February 1903, when Schoenberg was 28, and was premiered on 25 January 1905 at the Musikverein in Vienna under the composer's...

at a Berlin performance in 1907. At the Vienna première of the Gurre-Lieder
Gurre-Lieder
Gurre-Lieder is a massive cantata for five vocal soloists, narrator, chorus and large orchestra, composed by Arnold Schoenberg, on poems by the Danish novelist Jens Peter Jacobsen...

on 13 February 1913, he received an ovation that lasted a quarter of an hour and culminated with Schoenberg's being presented with a laurel crown (Rosen 1996, 4; Stuckenschmidt 1977, 184). Much of his work, however, was not well received. His Chamber Symphony No. 1 in E major Op. 9, premièred unremarkably in 1907; when it was played again, however, in a 31 March 1913 concert, which also included works by Alban Berg
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

, Anton Webern
Anton Webern
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of...

 and Alexander von Zemlinsky
Alexander von Zemlinsky
Alexander Zemlinsky or Alexander von Zemlinsky was an Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher.-Early life:...

, thunderous applause contended with hisses and laughter during Webern's Six Pieces, Op. 6; though Zemlinsky's Four Maeterlinck Songs calmed the audience somewhat (according to a contemporary newspaper report), after Schoenberg's Op. 9 "one could hear the shrill sound of door keys among the violent clapping, and in the second gallery the first fight of the evening began." Later in the concert, during a performance of the Altenberg Lieder by Berg, fighting broke out after Schoenberg interrupted the performance to threaten removal by the police of any troublemakers (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 185). Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

's Kindertotenlieder
Kindertotenlieder
Kindertotenlieder is a song cycle for voice and orchestra by Gustav Mahler...

, which were to have concluded the concert, had to be canceled after a police officer was called in (Rosen 1996, 5). After this, Schoenberg's music made a break from tonality
Tonality
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

.

The deteriorating relation between contemporary composers and the public led him to found the Society for Private Musical Performances
Society for Private Musical Performances
The Society for Private Musical Performances was an organization founded in Vienna in the Autumn of 1918 by Arnold Schoenberg with the intention of making carefully rehearsed and comprehensible performances of available to genuinely interested members of the musical public...

 (Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen in German) in Vienna in 1918. He sought to provide a forum in which modern musical compositions could be carefully prepared and rehearsed, and properly performed under conditions protected from the dictates of fashion and pressures of commerce. From its inception through 1921, when it ended because of economic reasons, the Society presented 353 performances to paid members, sometimes at the rate of one per week. During the first year and a half, Schoenberg did not allow any of his own works to be performed (Rosen 1975, 65). Instead, audiences at the Society's concerts heard difficult contemporary compositions by Scriabin
Alexander Scriabin
Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist who initially developed a lyrical and idiosyncratic tonal language inspired by the music of Frédéric Chopin. Quite independent of the innovations of Arnold Schoenberg, Scriabin developed an increasingly atonal musical system,...

, Debussy
Claude Debussy
Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions...

, Mahler, Webern, Berg, Reger
Max Reger
Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger was a German composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and academic teacher.-Life:...

, and other leading figures of early 20th-century music (Rosen 1996, 66).

Schoenberg's serial technique of composition with twelve notes became one of the most central and polemical issues among American and European musicians during the mid- to late-twentieth century. Beginning in the 1940s and continuing to the present day, composers such as Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez is a French composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, and a conductor.-Early years:Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire, France. As a child he began piano lessons and demonstrated aptitude in both music and mathematics...

, Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

, Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.- Early years :Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter...

 and Milton Babbitt
Milton Babbitt
Milton Byron Babbitt was an American composer, music theorist, and teacher. He is particularly noted for his serial and electronic music.-Biography:...

 have extended Schoenberg's legacy in increasingly radical directions. The major cities in the USA (e.g., Los Angeles, New York, and Boston) have had historically significant performances of Schoenberg's music, with advocates such as Babbitt in New York and the Franco-American conductor-pianist, Jacques-Louis Monod
Jacques-Louis Monod
Jacques-Louis Monod is an influential French-born, American domiciled composer, pianist and conductor of 20th century and contemporary music.-Paris 1940s: early years under Messiaen and Leibowitz:...

. Schoenberg's students have been influential teachers at major American universities: Leonard Stein at USC, UCLA and CalArts; Richard Hoffmann at Oberlin; Patricia Carpenter at Columbia; and Leon Kirchner
Leon Kirchner
Leon Kirchner was an American composer of contemporary classical music. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his String Quartet No. 3.Kirchner was born in Brooklyn, New York...

 and Earl Kim at Harvard). Musicians associated with Schoenberg have had a profound influence upon contemporary music performance practice in the USA (e.g., Louis Krasner
Louis Krasner
Louis Krasner was a renowned Ukrainian-born American classical violinist who premiered the violin concertos of Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg.-Biography:...

, Eugene Lehner
Eugene Lehner
Eugene Lehner was a violist and music educator.Mr. Lehner, as he preferred to be addressed, was born in Hungary in 1906. Originally named Jenö Léner, he performed as a self-taught violinist from the time he was 7. When he was 13, the composer Bela Bartok heard him play, and arranged for him to...

 and Rudolf Kolisch
Rudolf Kolisch
Rudolf Kolisch was a Viennese violinist and leader of string quartets, including the Kolisch Quartet and the Pro Arte Quartet. He played a right-handed violin left-handed—an extremely rare occurrence in classical music settings....

 at the New England Conservatory of Music; Eduard Steuermann
Eduard Steuermann
Eduard Steuermann was an Austrian pianist and composer. The actress Salka Viertel was his sister...

 and Felix Galimir
Felix Galimir
Felix Galimir was an Austrian-born American-Jewish violinist and music teacher.He studied with Adolf Bak and Simon Pullman at the Vienna Conservatory from the age of twelve and graduated in 1928. With his three sisters he founded the Galimir Quartet in 1927 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary...

 at the Juilliard School). In Europe, the work of Hans Keller
Hans Keller
Hans Keller was an influential Austrian-born British musician and writer who made significant contributions to musicology and music criticism, as well as being an insightful commentator on such disparate fields as psychoanalysis and football...

, Luigi Rognoni, and René Leibowitz
René Leibowitz
René Leibowitz was a French composer, conductor, music theorist and teacher born in Warsaw, Poland.-Career:...

 has had a measurable influence in spreading Schoenberg's musical legacy outside of Germany and Austria.

Schoenberg was not fond of Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

. In 1926 he wrote a poem titled "Der neue Klassizismus" (in which he derogates Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism (music)
Neoclassicism in music was a twentieth-century trend, particularly current in the period between the two World Wars, in which composers sought to return to aesthetic precepts associated with the broadly defined concept of "classicism", namely order, balance, clarity, economy, and emotional restraint...

 and obliquely refers to Stravinsky as "Der kleine Modernsky"), which he used as text for the third of his Drei Satiren, Op. 28 (H. C. Schonberg 1970, 503).

Extramusical interests

Schoenberg was a painter of considerable ability, whose pictures were considered good enough to exhibit alongside those of Franz Marc
Franz Marc
Franz Marc was a German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement...

 and Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely-abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics...

 (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 142). He was interested in Hopalong Cassidy films
Hopalong Cassidy films
This is a chronological filmography of all films featuring the character Hopalong Cassidy, always played by actor William Boyd, annotated with film producer / film distributor.Harry Sherman / Paramount Pictures...

, which Paul Buhle and David Wagner (2002, v–vii) attribute to the films' left-wing screenwriters—a rather odd claim in light of Schoenberg's statement that he was a "bourgeois" turned monarchist (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 551–52).

Writings

  • 1922. Harmonielehre, third edition. Vienna: Universal Edition. (Originally published 1911). Translation by Roy E. Carter, based on the third edition, as Theory of Harmony. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978. ISBN 0-520-04945-4.
  • 1959. Structural Functions of Harmony. Translated by Leonard Stein. London: Williams and Norgate Revised edition, New York, London: W. W. Norton and Company 1969. ISBN 0-393-00478-3.
  • 1964a. Arnold Schoenberg Letters, selected and edited by Erwin Stein, translated from the original German by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser. London: Faber. Paperback reprint, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. ISBN 9780520060098.
  • 1964b. Preliminary Exercises in Counterpoint. Edited with a foreword by Leonard Stein. New York, St. Martin's Press. Reprinted, Los Angeles: Belmont Music Publishers 2003.
  • 1967. Fundamentals of Musical Composition. Edited by Gerald Strang, with an introduction by Leonard Stein. New York: St. Martin's Press. Reprinted 1985, London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0571092764
  • 1975. Style and Idea: Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg. Edited by Leonard Stein, with translations by Leo Black. New York: St. Martins Press; London: Faber & Faber. ISBN 0-520-05294-3. Expanded from the 1950 Philosophical Library (New York) publication edited by Dika Newlin
    Dika Newlin
    Dika Newlin was a pianist, professor, musicologist, composer and punk rock singer. She received a Ph.D from Columbia University at the age of 22. She was one of the last living students of Arnold Schoenberg, a Schoenberg scholar and a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond from...

    . The volume carries the note "Several of the essays...were originally written in German (translated by Dika Newlin)" in both editions.
  • 1979. Die Grundlagen der musikalischen Komposition. Ins Deutsche übertragen von Rudolf Kolisch; hrsg. von Rudolf Stephan. Vienna: Universal Edition (German translation of Fundamentals of Musical Composition).
  • 1984. Style and Idea: Selected Writings, translated by Leo Black. Berkeley: California University Press.

By Schoenberg

  • "My music is not lovely" (quoted by Theodor Adorno in his essay "Art and the Arts", 1966, reproduced in Clausen 2008, 387).
  • "My music is not modern, it is merely badly played" (Genette 1997, 102).
  • "My works are 12-tone compositions, not 12-tone compositions" (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 349).
  • "I was never revolutionary. The only revolutionary in our time was Strauss
    Richard Strauss
    Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

    !" (Schoenberg 1975, 137)
  • "...if it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art." (Schoenberg 1984, 124)

By others

  • Richard Strauss
    Richard Strauss
    Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

     on Schoenberg, written by Schoenberg himself: "Dear Sir, I regret that I am unable to accept your invitation to write something for Richard Strauss's fiftieth birthday. In a letter to Frau Mahler (in connection with Mahler Memorial Fund) Herr Strauss wrote about me as follows: "The only person who can help poor Schoenberg now is a psychiatrist ...". "I think he'd do better to shovel snow instead of scribbling on music-paper...". (Schoenberg – letter to an unknown correspondent, Berlin, 22 April 1914) (Schoenberg 1964)
  • "Non, ce n'est pas de la musique... c'est du laboratoire" (translation: "That isn't music … it's lab-work") (Maurice Ravel
    Maurice Ravel
    Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects...

    ) (Mahler 1960).

Further reading

  • Auner, Joseph. 1993. A Schoenberg Reader. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09540-6.
  • Boulez, Pierre. 1991. "Schoenberg is Dead" (1952). In his Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship, collected and presented by Paule Thévenin, translated by Stephen Walsh, with an introduction by Robert Piencikowski, 209–14. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    . ISBN 0193112108.
  • Brand, Julianne, Christopher Hailey, and Donald Harris (editors). 1987. The Berg-Schoenberg Correspondence: Selected Letters. New York, London: W. W. Norton and Company. ISBN 0-393-01919-5.
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    William Romeyn Everdell is an American teacher and author. Born in 1941, he graduated from St. Paul's School and from Princeton University. A Woodrow Wilson Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, he holds a Master's degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D in Modern Intellectual History from New York...

    . 1998 The First Moderns: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-Century Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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    Martin Eybl
    - Early life and education :Martin Eybl was born 1960 in Neumarkt im Hausruckkreis, a town in the province of Upper Austria, and was educated at the Gymnasium in Kremsmünster where he finished his school studies 1979. Thereafter he studied at the in Linz and majored 1984 there in Piano Performance...

    . 2004. Die Befreiung des Augenblicks: Schönbergs Skandalkonzerte von 1907 und 1908: eine Dokumentation. Wiener Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte 4. Vienna, Cologne, Weimar: Böhlau. ISBN 3-205-77103-6.
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  • Hyde, Martha M. 1982. Schoenberg's Twelve-Tone Harmony: The Suite Op. 29 and the Compositional Sketches. Studies in Musicology, series edited by George Buelow. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press. ISBN 0-8357-1512-4.
  • Kandinsky, Wassily. 2000. "Arnold Schönberg als Maler/Arnold Schönberg as Painter". Journal of the Arnold Schönberg Center, no. 1:131–76.
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Recordings by Schoenberg



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Writings about Schoenberg

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