Arnold Schoenberg Biography (BBC)
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
Arnold Schoenberg Biography (Wikipedia)
Arnold Schoenberg or Schönberg (13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) was an Austrian composer, music theorist, and painter. He was associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. By 1938, with the rise of the Nazi Party, Schoenberg's works were labeled degenerate music, because he was Jewish (Anon. 1997–2013). He moved to the United States in 1934.
Schoenberg's approach, both in terms of harmony and development, has been one of the most influential of 20th-century musical thought. Many European and American composers from at least three generations have consciously extended his thinking, whereas others have passionately reacted against it.
Schoenberg was known early in his career for simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify innovations in atonality (although Schoenberg himself detested that term) that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, an influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale. He also coined the term developing variation and was the first modern composer to embrace ways of developing motifs without resorting to the dominance of a centralized melodic idea.
- The Listening Service Extra 12 of 12 - Schoenberg’s Compositional Vision (ONLINE EXCLUSIVE)https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk74l.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk74l.jpg2017-01-06T17:31:00.000ZTom explores how Schoenberg hears the music that he is going to write.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lq1rj
The Listening Service Extra 12 of 12 - Schoenberg’s Compositional Vision (ONLINE EXCLUSIVE)
- The Listening Service Extra 11 of 12 - Twelve-tone music and its receptionhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk6wc.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk6wc.jpg2017-01-06T17:30:00.000ZWe hear Schoenberg on the reception of his music in America, Europe.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lq1bq
The Listening Service Extra 11 of 12 - Twelve-tone music and its reception
- Schoenberghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ly4q8.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ly4q8.jpg2017-01-06T13:00:00.000ZDonald Macleod explores Schoenberg's life from five different viewpointshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04nlqc0
- The Listening Service Extra 10 of 12 - Do the correct notes matter?https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk6g5.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk6g5.jpg2017-01-06T10:30:00.000ZTom looks at Schoenberg’s plea to musicians to play the correct notes in his String Trio.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkj33
The Listening Service Extra 10 of 12 - Do the correct notes matter?
- The Listening Service Extra 9 of 12 - Tennis Partnershttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk5zt.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk5zt.jpg2017-01-05T17:30:00.000ZTom looks at Schoenberg’s love of Gershwin, who was also his tennis partner in Hollywoodhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkhq3
The Listening Service Extra 9 of 12 - Tennis Partners
- 28 minutes of pure luxuriousness - Schoenberg's 'Verklärte Nacht' (Transfigured Night)https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04nfhc3.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04nfhc3.jpg2017-01-05T12:26:00.000ZLive on In Tune as part of Radio 3's "Breaking Free – the minds that changed music", exploring the music of the Second Viennese School.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04nfl48
28 minutes of pure luxuriousness - Schoenberg's 'Verklärte Nacht' (Transfigured Night)
- How does Arnold Schoenberg take the fun out of Tiddlywinks?https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04nf6cv.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04nf6cv.jpg2017-01-05T10:45:00.000ZTom McKinney explores the mind of Schoenberg through his invention of intriguing games.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04nf6j3
How does Arnold Schoenberg take the fun out of Tiddlywinks?
- The Listening Service Extra 7 of 12 - Expressive Melodieshttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk4w5.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk4w5.jpg2017-01-04T17:30:00.000ZTom looks at Schoenberg’s demonstration of how to harmonize a melody to maximum effect...http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkgqc
The Listening Service Extra 7 of 12 - Expressive Melodies
- Checkmate! Schoenberg vs. Chesshttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ncfb6.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ncfb6.jpg2017-01-04T15:47:00.000ZTom McKinney explores Schoenberg's new take of chess,http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04ncfdc
Checkmate! Schoenberg vs. Chess
- The Listening Service Extra 6 of 12 - Twelve Toneshttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk3t7.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk3t7.jpg2017-01-04T10:30:00.000ZSchoenberg’s distillation and defence of his theory of composition with 12 tones...http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkfz4
The Listening Service Extra 6 of 12 - Twelve Tones
- The Listening Service Extra 5 of 12 - Boiling Waterhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk3jm.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk3jm.jpg2017-01-03T21:05:00.000ZSchoenberg’s experience in the new atonal world...http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkfhl
The Listening Service Extra 5 of 12 - Boiling Water
- The Listening Service Extra 4 of 12 - Schoenberg’s IDEAhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk29d.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk29d.jpg2017-01-03T10:30:00.000ZSchoenberg’s conception of what the “idea” of a piece of music really was...http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkdyn
The Listening Service Extra 4 of 12 - Schoenberg’s IDEA
- The Listening Service Extra 3 of 12 - Dissonancehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk0cc.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04lk0cc.jpg2017-01-02T21:00:00.000ZTom explores what Schoenberg meant by the dissonance and how he broke free from tonality.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkd31
The Listening Service Extra 3 of 12 - Dissonance
- The Listening Service Extra 2 of 12 - Heir to the German Mainstreamhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ljycf.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ljycf.jpg2017-01-02T10:30:00.000ZTom looks at why Schoenberg felt a strong lineage from Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Bachhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkc4f
The Listening Service Extra 2 of 12 - Heir to the German Mainstream
- The Listening Service Extra 1 of 12 - Who am I?https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ljwdm.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p04ljwdm.jpg2017-01-01T23:03:00.000ZSchoenberg’s objection to being dubbed a “famous theoretician and controversial musician”http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04lkbn2
The Listening Service Extra 1 of 12 - Who am I?
- Donald Runnicles on Schoenberg's Gurreliederhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01r5kc5.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01r5kc5.jpg2016-09-16T09:51:40.000ZConductor Donald Runnicles discusses Arnold Schoenberg's cantata Gurrelieder, based on poems by Jens Peter Jacobsen.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p04820xn
Donald Runnicles on Schoenberg's Gurrelieder
- Donald Runnicles on Gurreliederhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p045yrv0.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p045yrv0.jpg2016-08-26T14:02:23.000ZDonald Runnicles on Arnold Schoenberg's epic cantata Gurrelieder.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p045y1p5
Donald Runnicles on Gurrelieder
- Schoenberg: Gurreliederhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01tnls1.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01tnls1.jpg2014-07-04T14:18:00.000ZIn this Proms Music Guide, Andrew McGregor talks about Schoenberg's Gurreliederhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p0225c1p
- Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 1 in E major (Op. 9)https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zl3zk.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zl3zk.jpg2014-05-22T17:53:00.000ZCharles Hazlewood and Excellent Device explore Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1. (the online audio is truncated for rights reasons)http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01zl41y
Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 1 in E major (Op. 9)
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