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Arnold Schoenberg
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1874-09-13
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/9b490b96-ad82-4d7b-9055-f0a196ad64cc
Arnold Schoenberg

Biography

Schoenberg was born in 1874 in Vienna to orthodox Jewish parents of modest means. At the age of 17 he started working in a bank, while pursuing his passion for music by playing chamber music with friends, taking lessons with ...

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Biography

Schoenberg was born in 1874 in Vienna to orthodox Jewish parents of modest means. At the age of 17 he started working in a bank, while pursuing his passion for music by playing chamber music with friends, taking lessons with the slightly older Alexander Zemlinsky and composing. By his 20s he was producing works he felt merited performance and publication, including Verklärte Nacht for string sextet (1899). He also got married, to Zemlinsky’s sister Mathilde.

His progress as a professional composer in Vienna was made difficult by the modernity of his outlook. Deeply attached to the classics, from Bach through Mozart and Beethoven to Brahms, he believed respect for the past meant progress. In 1901 he moved to Berlin, and there met Richard Strauss and began his work as a teacher, but two years later he returned to Vienna, where he drew close to Mahler and gained Anton Webern and Alban Berg among his pupils. The development of his music now was rapid: there is a sense in the fast, dense First Chamber Symphony (1906) of a hurtling towards atonality – a goal he reached in his Second Quartet (1907–8). Gurrelieder, a work for soloists, chorus and huge orchestra begun in 1901, was completed in the new style in 1911.

From that year he was back in Berlin – where he wrote Pierrot lunaire for reciter and quintet (1912) – until he was called up for service in the Austrian army (1915–16). He then settled just outside Vienna, continuing to teach but not to compose, for the revolution he had brought about – the opening of music to dissonance, floating rhythm, formal fluidity and extremes of expression and irony – had left him creatively exhausted and confused. Only in the 1920s did he start composing freely once more, using his new 12-tone technique and returning to standard forms (Piano Suite, 1921–3).

In 1924, following his first wife’s death, he remarried, and the next year he moved to Berlin again, to teach at the Prussian Academy. In Berlin he produced some of his most masterly works (Third Quartet, 1927; Orchestral Variations, 1926–8) and started his opera Moses und Aron. But soon after the Nazis took power in 1933, he left, reaffirmed his Jewish faith and found refuge in Los Angeles.

His American works – which include his Fourth Quartet (1936) and concertos for violin (1935–6) and piano (1942) – have a new largeness and richness, often because they come back close to tonality. He had also, during his last year or so in Berlin, returned to tonal composition, which he went on practising. In his last years, hit by illness, he devoted himself to chamber music and choral prayers. He died in 1951.

Profile by Paul Griffiths © BBC

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Tracks (41)

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Irwin Gage, Arnold Schoenberg, Richard Dehmel & Arleen Augér
Schenk mir deinen Goldenen Kamm - No.2 from 4 lieder (Op.2)
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Schenk mir deinen Goldenen Kamm - No.2 from 4 lieder (Op.2)
Peter Serkin & Arnold Schoenberg
Six Pieces, Op.19
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Six Pieces, Op.19
Arnold Schoenberg, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra & Sir Simon Rattle
Gurrelieder: Part One Prelude
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Gurrelieder: Part One Prelude
Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Schoenberg, Arnold, Johann Strauss II & Raffi Armenian
Rosen aus dem Suden: waltz arr. Schoenberg for harmonium, piano & string quartet
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Rosen aus dem Suden: waltz arr. Schoenberg for harmonium, piano & string quartet
Johannes Brahms, Arnold Schoenberg, Geoffrey Simon & London Symphony Orchestra
Piano Quartet in G minor: 4th mov. Rondo alla zingarese: Presto
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Piano Quartet in G minor: 4th mov. Rondo alla zingarese: Presto
Donald McInnes, Arnold Schoenberg, Jonathan Pegis & LaSalle Quartet
Verklärte Nacht
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Verklärte Nacht
Arnold Schoenberg, Alfred Brendel, Rafael Kubelík & Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Piano Concerto, Op 42; 3rd and 4th mvts
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Piano Concerto, Op 42; 3rd and 4th mvts
Arnold Schoenberg & Mitsuko Uchida
Six Little Pieces, No. 4
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Six Little Pieces, No. 4
Arnold Schoenberg & Aronowitz Ensemble
Verklarte Nacht for string sextet (Op.4)
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Verklarte Nacht for string sextet (Op.4)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Johann Sebastian Bach, Arnold Schönberg & Edo de Waart
Chorale Prelude (BWV.654) orch. Schoenberg
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Chorale Prelude (BWV.654) orch. Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg & The Nash Ensemble
Verklärte Nacht (4th & 5th movements)
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Verklärte Nacht (4th & 5th movements)
Strauss arr Schoenberg
Roses from the South
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Roses from the South
Arnold Schoenberg, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra & Riccardo Chailly
Chamber symphony no. 1 in E major Op.9
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Chamber symphony no. 1 in E major Op.9
Johannes Brahms, Berlin Philharmonic, Arnold Schoenberg & Sir Simon Rattle
Piano Quartet No. 1
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Piano Quartet No. 1
Arnold Schoenberg, Anne Sofie von Otter, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra & Sir Simon Rattle
Lied der Waldtaube from Gurrelieder
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Lied der Waldtaube from Gurrelieder
Arnold Schoenberg, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra & Sir Simon Rattle
5 Orchestral pieces Op.16
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5 Orchestral pieces Op.16
Arnold Schönberg, Andres Díaz, The Borromeo String Quartet & Cynthia Phelps
Verklarte Nacht for string sextet (Op.4)
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Verklarte Nacht for string sextet (Op.4)
Schoenberg & Berlin Philharmonic
Accompaniment to a Film Scene Op.34
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Accompaniment to a Film Scene Op.34
Georges Bizet, Arnold Schoenberg, Nathan Gunn, Vienna Radio Orchestra, Dmitry Korchak, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Nicolas Testé & Diana Damrau
The Pearl Fishers Act 2
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The Pearl Fishers Act 2
Arnold Schoenberg, Leopold Stokowski & Leopold Stokowski Symphony Orchestra
Verklärte Nacht (opening)
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Verklärte Nacht (opening)
Norwegian Soloists Choir, Arnold Schoenberg, Grete Pedersen & Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Friede auf Erde
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Friede auf Erde
Arnold Schoenberg, Riccardo Chailly & Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Verklärte Nacht
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Verklärte Nacht
Vladimir Jurowski, London Philharmonic Orchestra & Arnold Schoenberg
5 Orchestral pieces Op.16
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5 Orchestral pieces Op.16
Arnold Schoenberg, BBC Singers & David Hill
Friede auf Erden, Op. 13
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Friede auf Erden, Op. 13
Alina Ibragimova, Lawrence Power, Arnold Schoenberg, Carolin Widmann, Andreas Brantelid, Lise Berthaud & Alban Gerhardt
Verklarte Nacht Op.4 for string sextet
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Verklarte Nacht  Op.4 for string sextet
Barbara Sukowa, Katarina Dalayman, Gabor Bretz, Michelle de Young, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Arnold Schoenberg, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke, Robert Dean Smith, MDR Chorus & The Choir of Radio France
Gurrelieder
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Gurrelieder
Johannes Brahms, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Arnold Schönberg & Edo de Waart
Piano Quartet in G minor (Op.25) orch. Schoenberg
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Piano Quartet in G minor (Op.25) orch. Schoenberg
Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Johann Sebastian Bach, Arnold Schönberg & Edo de Waart
Prelude and fugue in E flat major BWV.552 (St Anne), orch. Schoenberg
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Prelude and fugue in E flat major BWV.552 (St Anne), orch. Schoenberg
Pierre Boulez, Arnold Schoenberg & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Verklarte Nacht Op.4, arr. for string orchestra
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Verklarte Nacht Op.4, arr. for string orchestra
Arnold Schoenberg & Robert Craft
De profundis (Psalm 130), Op. 50b
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De profundis (Psalm 130), Op. 50b
Oliver Knussen, Scottish National Orchestra & Arnold Schoenberg
Five Orchestral Pieces Op.
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Five Orchestral Pieces Op.
Ulster Orchestra, Alfie Boe & Arnold Schoenberg
Bring Him Home from Les Meserables
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Bring Him Home from Les Meserables
Alfie Boe & Danish National Chamber Orchestra
Bring Him Home
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Bring Him Home
Arnold Schoenberg, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra & Kent Nagano
Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, (Op. 34)
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Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, (Op. 34)
Arnold Schoenberg & Paul Jacobs
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 11
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Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 11
Solistes de l'Opera National de Lyon, Arnold Schönberg & Johann Strauss II
Kaiser-Walzer arr. Schoenberg for fl, cl, string 4tet & piano
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Kaiser-Walzer arr. Schoenberg for fl, cl, string 4tet & piano

Kaiser-Walzer arr. Schoenberg for fl, cl, string 4tet & piano

Music Arranger
Performer
Solistes de l'Opera National de Lyon
Last played on
Arnold Schoenberg, Thomas Hampson & Wolfram Rieger
Der verlorene Haufen, Op. 12 No. 2
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Der verlorene Haufen, Op. 12 No. 2
Arnold Schoenberg, Arleen Augér, Irwin Gage, Schlaf & Johannes Brahms
Waldsonne (Op.2 No.4)
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Waldsonne (Op.2 No.4)
Arnold Schoenberg, Arleen Augér, Irwin Gage & Richard Dehmel
Erhebung - No.3 from 4 lieder (Op.2)
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Erhebung - No.3 from 4 lieder (Op.2)
Arnold Schoenberg & Britten Sinfonia
String Quartet No 2 Op10
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String Quartet No 2 Op10
Canadian Chamber Ensemble, Johann Strauss II, Arnold Schönberg & Raffi Armenian
Kaiser-Walzer [Emperor Waltz] Op.437 (1888) arr. Schoenberg
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Kaiser-Walzer [Emperor Waltz] Op.437 (1888) arr. Schoenberg
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