Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg or Schönberg (German: <ˈaːʁnɔlt ˈʃøːnbɛʁk>; 13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) to be an Austrian composer and painter, associated with the expressionist activity in German poetry and art, and leader the the second Viennese School. With the rise of the Nazi Party, by 1938 Schoenberg’s functions were labelled as degenerate music because he to be Jewish (Anon. 1997–2013); he moved to the United states in 1934.

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Schoenberg’s approach, both in terms of harmony and also development, has been one of the most prominent of 20th-century musical thought. Plenty of European and also American composers from at the very least three generations have actually consciously extended his thinking, whereas others have passionately reacted versus it.

Schoenberg was known early on in his career for simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic formats of Brahms and also Wagner. Later, his surname would involved personify advancements in atonality (although Schoenberg himself detested that term) that would come to be the most polemical attribute of 20th-century arts music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg occurred the twelve-tone technique, an significant compositional technique of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve note in the chromatic scale. He additionally coined the term emerging variation and also was the an initial modern composer to adopt ways of occurring motifs without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea.

Schoenberg was also a painter, crucial music theorist, and also an prominent teacher that composition; his students contained Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, Egon Wellesz, and later john Cage, Lou Harrison, Earl Kim, Leon Kirchner, and also other significant musicians. Plenty of of Schoenberg’s practices, including the formalization the compositional an approach and his habit the openly inviting audience to think analytically, are echoed in avant-garde musical believed throughout the 20th century. His often polemical views of music background and aesthetics were crucial to many significant 20th-century musicologists and critics, consisting of Theodor W. Adorno, Charles Rosen and also Carl Dahlhaus, and the pianists Artur Schnabel, Rudolf Serkin, Eduard Steuermann and also Glenn Gould.

Schoenberg’s archival legacy is collected at the Arnold Schönberg center in Vienna.


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Schoenberg’s Der Rote Blick (Red Gaze), 1910 

During the summer that 1910, Schoenberg composed his Harmonielehre (Theory that Harmony, Schoenberg 1922), i m sorry remains among the most prominent music-theory books. From around 1911, Schoenberg belonged to a circle of artists and also intellectuals who contained Lene Schneider-Kainer, Franz Werfel, Herwarth Walden and also the latter’s wife, rather Lasker-Schüler.

In 1910 he met Edward Clark, one English music journalist then working in Germany. Clark ended up being his sole English student, and in his later on capacity together a producer for the BBC he was responsible for introducing many of Schoenberg’s works, and also Schoenberg himself, to Britain (as well as Webern, Berg and also others).

Another the his most crucial works native this atonal or pantonal duration is the extremely influential Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21, of 1912, a novel cycle of expressionist songs collection to a German translate into of poems by the Belgian-French poet Albert Giraud. Utilizing the an approach of Sprechstimme, or melodramatically spoken recitation, the occupational pairs a mrs vocalist through a small ensemble of 5 musicians. The ensemble, i beg your pardon is now generally referred to together the Pierrot ensemble, consists of flute (doubling ~ above piccolo), clarinet (doubling on base clarinet), violin (doubling top top viola), violoncello, speaker, and piano.

Wilhelm Bopp, manager of the Vienna Conservatory native 1907, want a break from the stale atmosphere personified because that him through Robert Fuchs and also Hermann Graedener. Having taken into consideration many candidates, he available teaching location to Schoenberg and also Franz Schreker in 1912. At the moment Schoenberg lived in Berlin. He was not fully cut turn off from the Vienna Conservatory, having actually taught a private theory food a year earlier. He seriously considered the offer, but he declined. Creating afterward come Alban Berg, he quote his “aversion to Vienna” as the key reason because that his decision, if contemplating that it could have been the dorn one financially, yet having made the he feeling content. A couple of months later he composed to Schreker saying that it can have been a negative idea for him as well to accept the teaching place (Hailey 1993, 55–57).

World war I


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Later, Schoenberg to be to build the most influential version that the dodecaphonic (also recognized as twelve-tone) technique of composition, which in French and English was given the alternative name serialism by René Leibowitz and also Humphrey Searle in 1947. This an approach was taken up by numerous of his students, who made up the so-called 2nd Viennese School. They included Anton Webern, Alban Berg and Hanns Eisler, every one of whom were profoundly affected by Schoenberg. He published a number of books, ranging from his well known Harmonielehre (Theory of Harmony) to Fundamentals of musical Composition (Schoenberg 1967), many of which space still in print and used by musicians and also developing composers.

Schoenberg perceived his development as a organic progression, and he did not deprecate his previously works once he ventured right into serialism. In 1923 he wrote to the Swiss charity Werner Reinhart:

“For the present, that matters an ext to me if human being understand my older works … They space the natural forerunners the my later on works, and also only those who understand and also comprehend this will be able to gain an expertise of the later on works the goes past a stylish bare minimum. I do not affix so much importance to gift a music bogey-man as to being a natural continuer that properly-understood great old tradition!” (Stein 1987, 100; quoted in Strimple 2005, 22)

His first wife died in October 1923, and in august of the next year Schoenberg married Gertrud Kolisch (1898–1967), sister of his pupil, the violin Rudolf Kolisch (Neighbour 2001; Silverman 2010, 223). She wrote the libretto because that Schoenberg’s one-act opera Von heute auf morgen under the pseudonym Max Blonda. At her request Schoenberg’s (ultimately unfinished) piece, die Jakobsleiter was prepared for power by Schoenberg’s student Winfried Zillig. After her husband’s death in 1951 she founded Belmont Music Publishers dedicated to the publishing of his works (Shoaf 1992, 64). Arnold offered the notes G and also E♭ (German: Es, i.e., “S”) for “Gertrud Schoenberg”, in the Suite, for septet, Op. 29 (1925) (MacDonald 2008, 216) (see musical cryptogram).

Following the 1924 fatality of composer Ferruccio Busoni, who had served as Director the a Master course in ingredient at the Prussian Academy of art in Berlin, Schoenberg to be appointed come this post the next year, but due to the fact that of health difficulties was can not to take it up his post until 1926. Among his significant students throughout this period were the composers Roberto Gerhard, Nikos Skalkottas, and Josef Rufer.

Along v his twelve-tone works, 1930 clues Schoenberg’s go back to tonality, v numbers 4 and 6 that the six Pieces for male Chorus Op.35, the various other pieces being dodecaphonic (Auner 1999, 85).

Third Reich and also move to America

Schoenberg ongoing in his post until the Nazis pertained to power under Adolf Hitler in 1933. When vacationing in France, he was warned that returning come Germany would certainly be dangerous. Schoenberg official reclaimed member in the Jewish religion at a Paris synagogue, then traveled with his family to the United states (Friedrich 1986, 31). However, this taken place only after ~ his do the efforts to relocate to Britain came to nothing. That enlisted the assist of his former student and an excellent champion Edward Clark, currently a senior producer through the BBC, in help him gain a british teaching post or also a brother publisher, however to no avail.

His an initial teaching place in the United states was at the Malkin Conservatory in Boston. He relocated to Los Angeles, where he taught at the university of southerly California and also the college of California, Los Angeles, both the which later on named a music structure on their corresponding campuses Schoenberg room (UCLA room of Music <2008>; college of southerly California Thornton school of Music <2008>). He to be appointed visiting professor at UCLA in 1935 ~ above the referral of rose oil Klemperer, music director and also conductor that the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; and the next year was advocated to professor at a salary of $5,100 every year, which permitted him in either might 1936 or 1937 come buy a Spanish Revival home at 116 north Rockingham in Brentwood Park, near the UCLA campus, because that $18,000. This deal with was directly across the street indigenous Shirley Temple’s house, and there that befriended other composer (and tennis partner) George Gershwin. The Schoenbergs to be able to employ domestic help and started holding Sunday afternoon gatherings that were known for fantastic coffee and also Viennese pastries. Constant guests contained Otto Klemperer (who studied composition privately v Schoenberg start in April 1936), Edgard Varèse, Joseph Achron, louis Gruenberg, serious Toch, and, on occasion, popular actors such together Harpo Marx and also Peter Lorre (Crawford 2009, 116; Feisst 2011, 6; Laskin 2008; mcdonald s 2008, 79; Schoenberg 1975, 514; Starr 1997, 383; Watkins 2010, 114). Composers Leonard Rosenman and George Tremblay studied with Schoenberg in ~ this time.

After his relocate to the United says in 1934 (Steinberg 1995, 463), the composer supplied the alternate spelling that his castle Schoenberg, quite than Schönberg, in what he referred to as “deference to American practice” (Foss 1951, 401), despite according to one writer he an initial made the change a year previously (Ross 2007, 45).

He lived there the rest of his life, yet at first he was no settled. In roughly 1934, he applied for a place of teacher that harmony and also theory at the new South Wales State Conservatorium in Sydney. The Director, Edgar Bainton, garbage him because that being Jewish and also for having “modernist ideas and dangerous tendencies”. Schoenberg additionally at one time explored the idea of migration to brand-new Zealand. His secretary and also student (and nephew the Schoenberg’s mother-in-law Henriette Kolisch), to be Richard (Dick) Hoffmann Jr, Viennese-born but who lived in new Zealand 1935–47, and Schoenberg had due to the fact that childhood been fascinated v islands, and with new Zealand in particular, possibly due to the fact that of the beauty of the postage stamps authorize by that country (Plush 1996).


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During this final period, he composed several notable works, including the daunting Violin Concerto, Op. 36 (1934/36), the Kol Nidre, Op. 39, because that chorus and orchestra (1938), the Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, Op. 41 (1942), the haunting Piano Concerto, Op. 42 (1942), and his memorial to the victim of the Holocaust, A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. 46 (1947). He to be unable to complete his opera Moses und Aron (1932/33), i beg your pardon was one of the first works the its genre to be written completely using dodecaphonic composition. Together with twelve-tone music, Schoenberg likewise returned come tonality through works during his critical period, choose the Suite because that Strings in G major (1935), the chamber Symphony No. 2 in E♭ minor, Op. 38 (begun in 1906, completed in 1939), the variations on a Recitative in D minor, Op. 40 (1941). Throughout this duration his remarkable students had John Cage and also Lou Harrison.

In 1941 he became a citizens of the joined States.

Later years and death


Schoenberg’s superstitious nature may have actually triggered his death. The composer had triskaidekaphobia (the are afraid of the number 13), and also according to friend Katia Mann, he fear he would certainly die throughout a year the was a lot of of 13 (quoted in Lebrecht 1985, 294). He dreaded his sixty-fifth date of birth in 1939 so lot that a girlfriend asked the composer and also astrologer Dane Rudhyar to prepare Schoenberg’s horoscope. Rudhyar go this and told Schoenberg that the year was dangerous, but not fatal.

But in 1950, top top his seventy-sixth birthday, one astrologer wrote Schoenberg a keep in mind warning him the the year was a vital one: 7 + 6 = 13 (Nuria Schoenberg-Nono, quoted in Lebrecht 1985, 295). This stunned and depressed the composer, for up to that suggest he had actually only been wary that multiples of 13 and never considered including the digits of his age. He passed away on Friday, 13 July 1951, shortly prior to midnight. Schoenberg had stayed in bed every day, sick, anxious and also depressed. His wife Gertrud report in a telegram to her sister-in-law Ottilie the following day that Arnold passed away at 11:45 pm, 15 minutes before midnight (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 520). In a letter come Ottilie date 4 august 1951, Gertrud explained, “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 neck rattled twice, his heart provided a an effective beat and that to be the end” (Stuckenschmidt 1977, 521).

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Schoenberg’s ashes were later on interred in ~ the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna ~ above 6 June 1974 (McCoy 1999, 15).