Arnold Schoenberg

From Wind Repertory Project
Arnold Schenberg


Arnold Schoenberg (born Vienna, 13 September 1874; died Los Angeles, 13 July 1951) began violin lessons when he was eight and almost immediately started composing, though he had no formal training until he was in his late teens, when Zemlinsky became his teacher and friend. His first acknowledged works date from the turn of the century and include the string sextet Verklärte Nacht as well as some songs, all showing influences from Brahms, Wagner and Wolf. In 1901-3 he was in Berlin as a cabaret musician and teacher, and there he wrote the symphonic poem Pelleas und Melisande. He returned to Vienna and began taking private pupils such as Berg and Webern His compositional style moved in the direction of intensification of harmonic strangeness, formal complexity and contrapuntal density leading him further towards the evolution of the twelve tone method. However, Schoenberg found it possible a quarter-century later to return to something like his tonal style in such works as the Suite in G for strings, the completion of the Chamber Symphony No. 2 and the Theme and Variations, Op 43a for band.

Gradually Schoenberg began writing longer instrumental structures in the 12-note serial method. In the 1920s, he returned to standard forms and genres, notably in the Suite for piano, String Quartet no.3, Orchestral Variations and several choral pieces. He also founded the Society for Private Musical Performances (1919-21), involving his pupils in the presentation of new music.

In 1933,he left Berlin and moved to Paris. Later the same year, he arrived in the USA and settled in Los Angeles in 1934. It was there that he returned to tonal composition, while developing serialism. In 1936, he began teaching at UCLA and his output dwindled. After a heart attack in 1945, however, he gave up teaching and made some return to expressionism (A Survivor from Warsaw, String Trio), as well as writing religious choruses.

Works for Winds