Bryan R. Simms, Arnold Schoenberg, Theory of Harmony. Translated by Roy E. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.
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He is widely considered one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School. With the rise of the Nazi Party , Schoenberg's works were labeled degenerate music , because they were modernist and atonal. He emigrated to the United States in , becoming an American citizen in 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 s, 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.
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 musical thought throughout the 20th century.
His often polemical views of music history and aesthetics were crucial to many significant 20th-century musicologists and critics, including Theodor W.
Arnold was largely self-taught. He took only counterpoint lessons with the composer Alexander Zemlinsky , who was to become his first brother-in-law Beaumont , He later made an orchestral version of this, which became one of his most popular pieces. Both Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler recognized Schoenberg's significance as a composer; Strauss when he encountered Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder , and Mahler after hearing several of Schoenberg's early works.
Strauss turned to a more conservative idiom in his own work after , and at that point dismissed Schoenberg. Mahler worried about who would look after him after his death Boss , Schoenberg, who had initially despised and mocked Mahler's music, was converted by the "thunderbolt" of Mahler's Third Symphony , which he considered a work of genius. Afterward he "spoke of Mahler as a saint" Stuckenschmidt , ; Schoenberg , In Schoenberg converted to Christianity in the Lutheran church.
According to MacDonald , 93 this was partly to strengthen his attachment to Western European cultural traditions, and partly as a means of self-defence "in a time of resurgent anti-Semitism". In , after long meditation, he returned to Judaism, because he realised that "his racial and religious heritage was inescapable", and to take up an unmistakable position on the side opposing Nazism.
He would self-identify as a member of the Jewish religion later in life Marquis Who's Who n. In October , Schoenberg married Mathilde Zemlinsky, the sister of the conductor and composer Alexander von Zemlinsky , with whom Schoenberg had been studying since about Schoenberg and Mathilde had two children, Gertrud — and Georg — Gertrud would marry Schoenberg's pupil Felix Greissle in Neighbour During the summer of , Schoenberg's wife Mathilde left him for several months for a young Austrian painter, Richard Gerstl who committed suicide in that November after Mathilde returned to her marriage.
This period marked a distinct change in Schoenberg's work. This was the first composition without any reference at all to a key Stuckenschmidt , Also in this year, Schoenberg completed one of his most revolutionary compositions, the String Quartet No. The first two movements, though chromatic in color, use traditional key signatures. The final two movements, again using poetry by George, incorporate a soprano vocal line, breaking with previous string-quartet practice, and daringly weaken the links with traditional tonality.
Both movements end on tonic chords, and the work is not fully non-tonal. During the summer of , Schoenberg wrote his Harmonielehre Theory of Harmony , Schoenberg , which remains one of the most influential music-theory books. In he met Edward Clark , an English music journalist then working in Germany. Clark became his sole English student, and in his later capacity as a producer for the BBC he was responsible for introducing many of Schoenberg's works, and Schoenberg himself, to Britain as well as Webern , Berg and others.
Another of his most important works from this atonal or pantonal period is the highly influential Pierrot Lunaire , Op. 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 , consists of flute doubling on piccolo , clarinet doubling on bass clarinet , violin doubling on viola , violoncello, speaker, and piano. Wilhelm Bopp, director of the Vienna Conservatory from , wanted a break from the stale environment personified for him by Robert Fuchs and Hermann Graedener. Having considered many candidates, he offered teaching positions to Schoenberg and Franz Schreker in 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 , 55— 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 , according to Norman Lebrecht , this is a reference to Schoenberg's apparent "destiny" as the "Emancipator of Dissonance".
In what Alex Ross calls an "act of war psychosis", Schoenberg drew comparisons between Germany's assault on France and his assault on decadent bourgeois artistic values. In August , while denouncing the music of Bizet , Stravinsky , and Ravel , he wrote: "Now comes the reckoning! Now we will throw these mediocre kitschmongers into slavery, and teach them to venerate the German spirit and to worship the German God" Ross , 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 , when it ended because of economic reasons, the Society presented performances to paid members, sometimes at the rate of one per week. During the first year and a half, Schoenberg did not let any of his own works be performed Rosen , Instead, audiences at the Society's concerts heard difficult contemporary compositions by Scriabin , Debussy , Mahler, Webern, Berg, Reger , and other leading figures of early 20th-century music Rosen , This technique was taken up by many of his students, who constituted the so-called Second Viennese School.
He published a number of books, ranging from his famous Harmonielehre Theory of Harmony to Fundamentals of Musical Composition Schoenberg , 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 he wrote to the Swiss philanthropist Werner Reinhart :. 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 , ; quoted in Strimple , His first wife died in October , and in August of the next year Schoenberg married Gertrud Kolisch — , sister of his pupil, the violinist Rudolf Kolisch Neighbour ; Silverman , Gertrude Kolisch Schoenberg wrote the libretto for 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 performance by Schoenberg's student Winfried Zillig.
After her husband's death in she founded Belmont Music Publishers devoted to the publication of his works Shoaf , Following the death in of composer Ferruccio Busoni , who had served as Director of a Master Class in Composition at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin, Schoenberg was appointed to this post the next year, but because of health problems was unable to take up his post until Along with his twelve-tone works, marks Schoenberg's return to tonality, with numbers 4 and 6 of the Six Pieces for Male Chorus Op.
Schoenberg continued in his post until the Nazis came to power under Adolf Hitler in 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 , This happened, however, only after his attempts to move to Britain came to nothing. He enlisted the aid of his former student and great champion Edward Clark , a senior producer with the BBC, in helping him gain a British teaching post or even a British publisher, but to no avail.
This address was directly across the street from Shirley Temple 's house, and there he befriended fellow composer and tennis partner George Gershwin. The Schoenbergs were able to employ domestic help and began holding Sunday afternoon gatherings that were known for excellent coffee and Viennese pastries. Powell studied with Schoenberg at this time. He lived there the rest of his life, but at first he was not settled.
In around , he applied for a position of teacher of harmony and theory at the New South Wales State Conservatorium in Sydney. The Director, Edgar Bainton , rejected him for being Jewish and for having "modernist ideas and dangerous tendencies. His secretary and student and nephew of Schoenberg's mother-in-law Henriette Kolisch , was Richard Dick Hoffmann Jr, Viennese-born but who lived in New Zealand in —, and Schoenberg had since childhood been fascinated with islands, and with New Zealand in particular, possibly because of the beauty of the postage stamps issued by that country Plush During this final period, he composed several notable works, including the difficult Violin Concerto , Op.
Along with twelve-tone music, Schoenberg also returned to tonality with works during his last period, like the Suite for Strings in G major , the Chamber Symphony No. During this period his notable students included John Cage and Lou Harrison. In , he became a citizen of the United States Marcus , Here he was the first composer in residence at the Music Academy of the West summer conservatory Greenberg Schoenberg's superstitious nature may have triggered his death.
The composer had triskaidekaphobia the fear of the number 13 , and according to friend Katia Mann, he feared he would die during a year that was a multiple of 13 quoted in Lebrecht , He dreaded his sixty-fifth birthday in so much that a friend asked the composer and astrologer Dane Rudhyar to prepare Schoenberg's horoscope.
Rudhyar did this and told Schoenberg that the year was dangerous, but not fatal. 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. He died on Friday, 13 July , shortly before midnight.
Schoenberg had stayed in bed all day, sick, anxious, and depressed. In a letter to Ottilie dated 4 August , 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 throat rattled twice, his heart gave a powerful beat and that was the end" Stuckenschmidt ,
Harmonielehre (Schoenberg, Arnold)
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