03 January 2009

Some more Schoenberg

Back at the blogging after nearly a month away. A Happy New Year to all.

Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, op. 41 (1942) (voice, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, piano)
This work for reciter with piano qunitet seems to get a bad rap, primarily from those who see it as a tonal work where Schoenberg turned his back on his creation and returned to a more popular style. The Ode is a powerful work, uncompromising and adamant. Bristling moments abound - its striking opening - staccato chords in the piano with martial and regal rhythms in the strings creating an Ivesian bustle. Throughout Schoenebrg tailors his musical images to the text and sometimes is even funny - like the exagerated portamentos that accompany the talk of "Austria." This piece seems to be something timeless like the Byron poem it sets which looks at Napoleon fallen and desolate with little pity. Rich and engrossing.

Concerto, op. 42 (1942) (piano, orchestra)
Like the violin concerto, my memory of the piano concerto is of a work I found quite difficult to listen to, a work that was stodgy, full of those repeated rhythms and unpleasant. I recall feeling that it never got off its feet. That was ten years ago maybe, listening to it today, I hear it as a prototype of a number of angular pieces that I find attractive - I hear its repeated rhtyhms but just as often I'm surprised by a sudden shift of material, a new turn of phrase, a new rhythmic figure or a delightful object that appears and doesn't return, at least not in the same guise - like that lovely moment of high quartal-ish trills at 325 or the striking cadenza at 287 or the col legno battuto in the basses toward the end. This is chamber music with a lot of vibrato and massed sounds. But it has a romantic striving to it - it seems to be fighting against the walls. Harmonically it is twelve-tone but with a tonal core. Listening to it you can really hear how Schoenberg is using the twelve-tone language to justify the things he was writing about in the Harmonielehre here it is internalized - harmonies can go anywhere - and they need to be tamed. A bold, visionary work.

Theme and variations, op. 43a (1943) (band)
This, another example of Schoenberg having a go at neoclassicism, is a deep text. There are abundant cross references throughout its twelve-minutes that one could spend a good deal of time teasing out, but would it be worth it for the few minutes of genius? The theme itself is unmemorable, an oddly harmonized - though oddly only in the sense of the norm: Schoenberg is following the precepts he lays out in the Harmonielehre - melody that undergoes a number of transformations, a waltz, a fughetta, for instance, before apotheozing in the end into a broad expansive restatement, but still the melody is unmemorable. You see Schoenberg trying to get his point across, there is a new expression marking, joining the haupt and nebbenstimme, this is an arrow pointing forward at the beginning of a phrase and an arrow pointing backward at the end, to bring out the phrases in the dense polyphony of Variation V. Variation 5, like Variation 1 is quite nice. In Variation 1 the harmonic structure of the original is buried under triplet mud obscuring its contours. Otherwise an odd curiosity. Originally commissioned by the president of G. Schirmer, Carl Engel. According to Schoenberg: "It is the kind of piece one writes in order to enjoy one's own virtuosity."

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21 November 2008

Some more Schoenberg

Including some canons this time

Darf ich eintretern - Canon for Alban Berg (complete works XXIV) (9 february 1935)
An unending canon to signify the unending nature of the freindship of Berg and Schoenberg - short and chromatic and with a strange melancholy. Would work well for brass.

Man mag über Schönberg denken, wie man will (for Charlotte Dieterle) (Bärenreiter XXIII) (1935) (4 voices)
A hymn -like mirror canon with augmentation and an opening. It is somehwat odd harmonically but is a rich little exercise for a string quartet or viol consort. Not his finest canon. Makes use of a descending fifth (E-A) as a motive - this appears in octaves in the middle with the words "ach, ja" written above.

Kol nidre, op. 39 (1938) (voice, chorus, orchestra)
Schoenberg set this version of the Kol Nidre prayer for "Rabbi", chorus and orchestra for, I believe, synagogue use. It is a powerful and strong work, in a tonal system that is purely Schoenberg - we see actual use again here of the precepts that he lays out in the Harmonielehre. Also, frankly, the mannerisms that mar muc of his work are not a part of this. That said the counterpoint is dense, not Verklarte Nacht dense, but present dense. Choral parts are not too difficult. Effective, strong and enjoyable.

Double canon (Bärenreiter XXV) (1938) (4 voices)
An infinite double canon in which the canonic voice is proportionally related to the other rhythmically. It has the sound of something by Obrecht.

Mr. Saunders I owe you thanks (for Richard Drake Saunders) (Bärenreiter XXVI) (December 1939) (4 voices)
A sweet charming little canon, though also chromatic, written as a Christmas greeting in 1939 to a certain Mr. Saunders, who assisted the Schoenbergs in their transition to LA. Nice how it ends with a greeting to Mrs. Saunders as well - the words bear writing: "Mister Saunders, I owe you thanks for at least four years. Let me do it in four voices so that every one of the mcounts for one year. Merry Christmas four times, listen how they sing it! Also Merry Christmas to Mrs. Saunders." Reminds me of those Glenn Gould canons, which were no doubt influenced by these.

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19 November 2008

Catching up on Schoenberg

Here's some of my recent notes - continuing the chronicle of my dysfunctional relationship with Schoenberg:

Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene [Accompanying music to a film scene], op. 34 (1930) (orchestra)
Amazingly this seems to step away from many of the Schoenberg cliches to provide a potent, evocative work. The melodies are interesting, the tensions and climaxs are fresh in a nineteenth century way. Jokes circulate as to what Schoenberg's film music would be - apparently he asked for tons of money and way too much time.

6 Stücke [6 Pieces], op. 35 (1930) (male chorus)
Devasting, at least the fifth and sixth pieces. One to four sound overburdened by counterpoint, it becomes a texture. Five is split up between voices as drums and others in an almost narrative way enacting soldier life, it reminds me of Mahler's Revelge. Six is a beautiful D minor.

Quarter note = mm. 80 (Gesamtausgabe fragment 13) (February 1931) (piano)
A lot of activity but not overcrowded, almost always four-part texture. Large leaps.

Double Mirror Canon (Bärenreiter VIII) (April 1931) (4 voices)(complete works 6)
This is the Schoenberg of the Christmas Music, a lovely canon that would sound well for strings and with a charming and quirky ending. Recommended.

Sehr rasch; Adagio [Very fast; Slowly] (Gesamtausgabe fragment 14) (July 1931) (piano)
Not recorded on the Fragments CD. It is an alternation of whole step octave displaced octaves with some Adagio sections and then almost imitative sections. Feels like a cadenza of sorts.

Andante (Gesamtausgabe fragment 15) (10 October 1931) (piano)
Barely worked out, mainly a single melody with bare accompaniment at the beginning.

(Bärenreiter IX) (Dec 1931)(Complete Works 7) (4 voices)
Crowded, too busy, high in conception, but clumsy. Quirky ending. #7 in the complete works.

Concerto “after Monn’s Concerto in D major for harpsichord” (1932/33) (violoncello, orchestra)
Schoenberg seemed to have a blast with this concerto dedicated to Casals who, not surprisingly, never played it. The orchestration is elegant and the cello line fiendishly difficult. Often the cello is buried in the score, which has a feeling like Schumann's orchestra. I suppose this is Schoenbeg's attempt at neoclassicism.

Double Mirror Canon (Bärenreiter XII) (Dec 1932) (4 voices)(complete works 9)
Small, only seven measures, it has potential to be expressive.

Concerto “freely adapted from Handel’s Concerto grosso in B-flat major, op.6, no.7” (1933)
If the concerto for cello is one crazy instrument with the ensemble then this concerto "freely adapted" from Handel is four crazy instruments with ensemble. Triple stops, double stops, eight parts in the strings, fast. Either this is Schoenberg's sense of humor or perhaps at the same time, his way of outdoing all the neoclassical works that were out there at this time.

Jedem geht es so [No man can escape] (for Carl Engel) (Bärenreiter XIII) (April 1933; text 1943) (3 voices)
This and it companion (Mir auch ist es so ergangen) form a birthday greeting to Schoenberg's friend Carl Engel, lamenting on how people say that at sixty you cannot do what you did before, but that once you are sixty this is nonsense, and ending with the English: "Life begins at 60" It's a rather straightforward D minor mensuration canon that becomes major in the final section. Quite charming. Ends with the musical realization of their two names. Of the canons I have heard this is the most succesful.

Mir auch ist es so ergangen [I, too, was not better off] (for Carl Engel) (Bärenreiter XIV) (April 1933; text 1943) (3 voices)
See above

Perpetual canon, A minor (Bärenreiter XV) (1933) (4 voices) (complete works x)
This canon (#15 in the Barenreiter collection and #10 in the complete works) a highly chromatic work that is elegiac in nature.

Mirror canon, A minor (Bärenreiter XVI) (1933) (4 voices) (complete works xi)
Stodgy and not particularly artful.

Piece (Gesamtausgabe fragment 16) (after October 1933) (piano)
A tiny twelve-tone fragment with a melody in the tenor and accompaniment in the bass. 3 measures only.

Moderato (Gesamtausgabe fragment 17) (April 1934?) (piano)
Weak, begins almost like a canonic exercise with all of Schoenberg's cliched figures prominent - the dotted rhythms, the slurred descending leaps. Never gets off its feet.

Es ist zu dumm [It is too dumb] (for Rudolph Ganz) (Bärenreiter XXII) (September 1934) (4 voices)
Schoenberg wrote this jaunty little canon as a response to an invitation to Chicago. The words that leap out are schade and Chicago which both are assigned a seufzer. Interesting.

Suite, G major (1934) (string orchestra)
It has been some time since I heard a full Schoenberg work and not a canon or fragment. This is the Schoenberg of the folk songs, and the Schoenberg of the Weihnachtsmusik. Coming to this sort of Schoenberg fun piece I hear the things I like about Schoenberg and the things I don't. So for instance, let's reflect on the way that Schoenberg beats a rhythmic fragment into the ground, usually a dotted figure (which here makes its entrance in its original guise - as a French overture figure). The reason these things become so tiresome is found in their chiseledness. Schoenberg will choose a figure that has a very strong profile, rhymically and often in the shape of the melody. These are then often broken up into small fragments which themselves are repeated and varied lending an overall sameness to the music. So in the final - otherwise quite enjoyable especially with its polyrhythmic divison of the 12/8 meter - Gigue we have a fragmetn reminiscent of Three Blind Mice (they all go under the mulberry bush, etc) the dum-da-dum, dum-dum-dum figure which is short and catchy and repeats over and over - if Arnie could shake things up more melodically we could enjoy it much more. In this light, look at the B section of the Gavotte which plays with the divisions, or the A section of the same which puts the listener in a constant state of losing the meter. The opening is lovely with a full diatonic complement that reminds me of Pulcinella mixed with Purcell in its moving back and forth from Adagio to Fugue. In this opening we see the beauty of Schoenberg's harmonies and the techniques he talks about in the Harmonielehre at play in the way that he views any harmony as able to move potentially to any other harmony and this in the very first phrase with its modulation from G major to B minor - following exactly as he does in his textbook (this was a piece for a student orcestra, so why not teach them something about harmony). We see this also at 165-169 of the otherwise tedious Adagio with its play of harmonies moving one into the other - the narrative at the point is simply harmonic motion and harmonic motion in a new and interesting way. The minuet is like an old man's bad joke - you feel like you have to laugh along. The polyphony is superdense which makes it almost impossible to bring out the proper melodies espcialy in the bluesy Gavotte.

Concerto, op. 36 (1934/36) (violin, orchestra)
It strikes me that this is the sort of work that one has to grow into. When I first heard it nearly ten years ago in the old Krasner recording I found it ponderous and annoying, with its overreliance on harmonics and squeaky high notes that didn't really sound well in the instrument. Hearing it now with the benefit of much of Schoenberg's catalogue in my ears I have a different appreciation for it, though not entirely a full appreciation. I recognize the remarkabe virtuosity of the part with its preponderance of triple and quadruple stops as well as harmonics as coming out of the Schoenberg string concerto school - one needs only think of what he did to that Monn cello concerto or the Handel concerto to see these as Schoenberg's playing around with virtuosity. Second, it seems to me that one of the most understudied aspects of Schoenberg's work is his use of rhythm - perhaps this is a result of a Boulez bias stemming from the infamous article and the fact that in taking serialism to the next level rhythm was what was addressed among other things. But Schoenberg's rhythms here, while in many cases strongly influenced by martial rhythms retain a sense of flexibility - I was struck by how often the meter goes against the notated meter, whether it is the constant syncopation that makes the accentuation fall off the beat or the fact that a good deal of it is in 4/4 when the sounding surface doesn't match with that. It seems to me that much could be gained from a study of Schoenberg's music from that level - it's similar to counterpoint study in the unmeasured period, the smaller rhtyhms may parse well but on a larger scale we have a constant interplay of mismatched meters. We saw somthing like that in the Suite for String Orchestra as well. Otherwise, I recognize now some of the great tension builds that Schoenberg does, the obsessive return to Ab in the second movement, the refrain-type formal scheme in the third movement, but this is not a warm piece, not a piece that is welcoming. I could care less about its twelve-tone construction, you don't hear that in the piece. I wonder if this is a music that we are still simply not ready for, or else what will make us ready for it is still to be revealed, rather one needs to open up the rhythmic possibilities in it to really allow it to shine.

Quartet no. 4, op. 37 (1936) (2 violins, viola, violoncello)
The famous fourth quartet evokes the same disease in me as the third. One detects that Schoenberg is on top of his game, he is working with his system in a way that demonstrates that it is his being, it has the same unifying rhythms that have plagued the composer for decades and the same difficult to pull off conflicting metrics - an almost poetic conceit - that I've noted in the violin concerto and the G Major suite. Nonetheless, It is, beyond a few stray moments, not really a pleasure to listen to and while it points the way toward new directions of expression - metric modulation for instance (I wonder if one some level this wasn't a strong model for Carter's First Quartet) - I can't help but feel that it does't warrant its reputation from a narrative, listening point of view; it may very well warrant the reputation from a serial point of view - indeed, the segmentation of the row would become a major factor in later serialism. I've tried to wrestle with what it is about the work that bothers me. One thing is the use of the registral space - the first violin so often stands out from the rest in an unpleasant way, we'll have the two lower strings in the octave below middle C, the second violin in the octave above and then the first violin way above that. In line with this consider the solo and accompaniment effect of much of the work, not only its famous opening. As contrast, often the exact opposite problem is found with the cello. I detect also a lot of sameness in the sound and perhaps its a question of performance (I'm talking about the Vienna Quartet performance) but the rhythms are stiff - I think Schoenberg wants a more flexible rhythm to allow the tensions to grow. I'm stuck with this piece again.

Kammersymphonie [Chamber symphony] no. 2, op. 38 (1906/39)
It's hard not to think of Schoenberg historically - that is, living in history - when we listen to this piece. It is in two movements, the opening an Adagio written in 1906 and reorchestrated in 1939 and the second more lighthearted, almost Copland sounding, neoclassical which reverts to the Adagio of the opening, which when it returns sounds more impassioned and clearheaded than it did in the opening movement. You get the sense that the cheery bubbling of the second movement hasbeen a foil for the deep-seated unease of the Adagio. This is what commentators have said and what one certainly hears in the work. On the other hand, if we think about it pureply from the perspective of the composer - he's got this old work, he wants to add another movement to it and then needs something to tie it together, so why not bring back the material from the opening. Similarly the Adagio material brought back - the brought back amounts only to the gestures, the overscored polyphony of the opening does not return, is more profound in this sense, if only becuase it has been stripped of the overworking. Another work I'm ambivalent - the ending is good and the second movement breezes along, but the first just doesn't work for me.

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15 September 2008

Schoenberg Canons

In honor of Arnold Schoenberg’s recent birthday, it was the thirteenth, I present the following.

Those who set about to peruse all of Schoenberg’s work come upon the difficult issue of his canons. These appear in two publications (among others certainly), a volume from Barenreiter, the 30 Kanons, published in 1963 and the complete works edition (Schott 1980). Unfortunately these two don’t share the same numbering scheme and certain canons that are included in the Schott edition are not in the Barenreiter. What follows is a correspondence of the Barenreiter numbers to the Schott numbers. I’ve included the common name, when there is one, the Schott number, the Barenreiter number and a presumed date for the composition.
Some are recorded, but many aren’t. The recordings include Craft’s survey (only available on LP) , some on a Boulez recording, others on an obscure recording by Les Jouers de Flute and finally others on a saxophone album by Marcus Weiss on Hat Art called “Conquest of Melody.”
For more information see Wayne Shoaf’s spectacular discography.

Canon Name DateSchott Number Barenreiter Number
Eyn doppelt Spiegel- und Schlüssel-Kanon 2/16/22 1 3
- 4/20/26 2 4
Von meinem Steinen 12/25/26 3 5
Arnold Schoenberg Begluckwunscht herzlicht Concert Gebouw 3/7/28 4 6
Dreistimmiger Kanon 4/8/28 5 7
- 4/1/31 6 8
- 12/15/31 7 9
Spiegle Dich im Werk Dec. 1933 8 10
Doppelkanon (in der Unterquint) im Spiegelbild 12/27/32 9 12
- 4/14/33 10 15
- 4/14/33 11 16
Jedem geht es so 4/14/33 12 13
Mir auch ist es so ergangen 4/14/33 13 14
- 12/10/33 14 17
- 3/10/34 15 18
- 3/12/34 16 19
- 3/12/34 17 20
Wer mit der Welt laufen will 7/30/34 18 21
Es ist zu dumm 9/1/34 19 22
- 9/3/34 20 n/a
- [1934] 21 n/a
- [1934] 22 n/a
- [1934] 23 n/a
fur Alban Berg 2/9/35 24 n/a
fur Charlotte Dieterle 11/15/35 25 23
- 1/22/36 26 24
- [1938] 27 25
Mister Saunders I owe you thanks 12/25/39 28 26
- 6/7/43 29 27
I am Almost Sure 3/12/45 30 28
fur Thomas Mann 7/6/45 31 29
Gravitationszentrum eigenen Sonnensystems 8/1/49 32 30
- undated 33 11


07 June 2007

Schoenberg: Opus 33a and b

2 Stücke [2 Pieces], op. 33a (1928) & 33b (1931) (piano): Two short pieces written for respectively the Universal Edition 20th century piano book and Henry Cowell's New Music Edition, both brief. The first uses a lovely arch as a thematic gesture and then contin ues in an always moving stream of tensions, the second reverts to a more tentative approach much more staccato, classic dum-da-dum rhythmic gestures toward the beginning and wandering left hand. There is indeed variaiton developing througout, but sometimes I feel like there is too much development. Here is the indebtedness to the Romantics.

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23 May 2007

Some Schoenberg

I began listening to Schoenberg's music primarily in an effort to get me to read more carefully Allen Shawn's book on Schoenberg. I began quite some time ago and ran into some difficulties particularly in regard to the canons, which were difficult to get a hold of, and the castol oil like flavor of a number of the pieces - the Opus 26 quintet, for instance. For the most part the density of ideas has been too much for my little ears and the rhythmic tics all too apparent. Nonetheless I'm soldiering on through the music. My comments began late in my journey and remain for the most part rather tiny.

The chronological list of works follows:

Mailied (Zwischen Weizen und Korn) [May song (Between wheat and grain)] (voice, piano

Stück, d (188-?) (violin, piano)

In hellen Träumen hab’ ich dich oft geschaut [In vivid dreams so oft you appeared to me] (1893) (voice, piano)

Gedenken (Es steht sein Bild noch immer da) [Remembrance (His picture is still there)] (1893/1903?) (voice, piano)

12 erste Lieder [12 First songs] (1893/96) (voice, piano)

Ein Schilflied (Drüben geht die Sonne scheiden) [A bulrush song (Yonder is the sun departing)] (1893) (voice, piano)

Warum bist du aufgewacht [Why have you awakened] (1893/94) (voice, piano)

Scherzo (Gesamtausgabe fragment 1) (ca. 1894) (piano)

3 Stücke [3 Pieces] (1894) (piano)

Waldesnacht, du wunderkühle [Forest night, so wondrous cool] (1894/96) (voice, piano)

6 Stücke [6 Pieces] (1896) (piano 4 hands)

Ecloge (Duftreich ist die Erde) [Eclogue (Fragrant is the earth)] (1896/97) (voice, piano)

Presto, C major (1896/97) (2 violins, viola, violoncello)

Mädchenfrühling (Aprilwind, alle Knospen) [Maiden’s spring (April wind, all abud)] (1897) (voice, piano)

Mädchenlied (Sang ein Bettlerpärlein am Schenkentor) (1897/1900) (voice, piano)

Nicht doch! (Mädel, lass das Stricken [But no! (Girl, stop knitting)] (1897) (voice, piano)

Quartet, D major (1897) (2 violins, viola, violoncello)

Scherzo, F major (1897) (2 violins, viola, violoncello)

Ei, du Lütte [Oh, you little one] (late 1890s) (chorus)

2 Gesänge [2 Songs], op. 1 (1898) (baritone, piano)

Mannesbangen (Du musst nicht meinen) [Men’s worries (You should not...)] (1899) (voice, piano)

Die Beiden (Sie trug den Becher in der Hand) [The two (She carried the goblet in her hand)] (1899) (voice, piano)

4 Lieder [4 Songs], op. 2 (1899) (voice, piano)

6 Lieder [6 Songs], op. 3 (1899/1903) (voice, piano)

Verklärte Nacht [Transfigured night], op. 4 (1899) (2 violins, 2 violas, 2 violoncellos)

Gruss in die Ferne (Dunkelnd über den See) [Hail from afar (Darkened over the sea)] (Aug 1900) (voice, piano)

Leicht, mit einiger Unruhe , C-sharp minor (Gesamtausgabe fragment 2) (ca. 1900) (piano)

Langsam [Slowly], A-flat major (Gesamtausgabe fragment 3) (1900/01) (piano)

8 Brettllieder [8 Cabaret songs] (1901) (soprano, piccolo, trumpet, snare drum, piano)

Gurre Lieder [Songs of Gurre] (1901/11) (6 solo voices, multiple choruses, orchestra)

Pelleas und Melisande [Pelleas and Melisande], op. 5 (1902/03) (orchestra)

Deinem Blick mich zu bequemen [To submit to your sweet glance] (1903) (voice, piano)

Schubert: Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern: incidental music, D. 797 (arr. Arnold Schoenberg, 1903?: piano 4 hands)

8 Lieder [8 Songs], op. 6 (1903/05) (soprano, piano)

Quartet no. 1, D minor, op. 7 (1904/05) (2 violins, viola, violoncello)

6 Lieder [6 Songs], op. 8 (1903/05) (voice, orchestra)

Ein Stelldichein [A rendezvous] (1905) (oboe, clarinet, piano, violin, violoncello)

O daß der Sinnen doch so viele sind! [Oh, the senses are too numerous!] (Bärenreiter I) (April? 1905) (4 voices)

Wenn der schwer Gedrückte klagt [When the sore oppressed complains] (Bärenreiter II) (April? 1905) (4 voices)

Wenig bewegt, sehr zart [Calmly, very gentle], B-flat major (Gesamtausgabe fragment 4) (1905/06) (piano)

Kammersymphonie [Chamber symphony] no. 1, op. 9 (1906)

Quartet no. 2, F-sharp minor, op. 10 (1907/08) (soprano, 2 violins, viola, violoncello)

3 Stücke [3 Pieces], op. 11 (1909) (piano)

2 Balladen [2 Ballads], op. 12 (1906) (voice, piano)

Friede auf Erden [Peace on earth], op. 13 (1907) (chorus)

2 Lieder [2 Songs], op. 14 (1907/08) (voice, piano)

15 Gedichte aus Das Buch der hängenden Gärten by Stefan George, op. 15 (1908/09) (voice, piano)

Am Strande [At the seashore] (1909) (voice, piano)

5 Stücke [5 Pieces], op. 16 (1909) (orchestra)

Erwartung [Expectation], op. 17 (1909) (soprano, orchestra)

2 Stücke [2 Pieces] (Gesamtausgabe fragments 5a & 5b) (1909) (piano)

Stück [Piece] (Gesamtausgabe fragment 6) (1909) (piano)

Stück [Piece] (Gesamtausgabe fragment 7) (1909) (piano)

Stück [Piece] (Gesamtausgabe fragment 8) (ca. 1910) (piano)

Die Glückliche Hand [The lucky hand], op. 18 (1910/13) (baritone, 2 mute roles, chorus, orchestra) *

3 kleine Orchesterstücke [3 Little orchestra pieces] (1910)

6 Kleine Klavierstücke [6 Little piano pieces], op. 19 (1911) (piano)

Herzgewächse [Foliage of the heart], op. 20 (1911) (soprano, celeste, harmonium, harp)

Pierrot lunaire, op. 21 (1912) (voice, piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello, piano)

4 Lieder [4 Songs], op. 22 (1913/16) (voice, orchestra)

Die eiserne Brigade [The iron brigade], march (1916) (2 violins, viola, violoncello, piano)

Die Jakobsleiter [Jacob’s ladder] (1917/22, unfinished) (multiple solo voices, multiple choruses, orchestra)

Mäßig, aber sehr ausdrucksvoll [Measured, but very expressive] (Gesamtausgabe fragment 9) (March 1918) (piano)

Reger: Eine romantische Suite [A romantic suite], op. 125 (arr. Arnold Schoenberg & Rudolf Kolisch, 1919/1920)

Langsam [Slowly] (Gesamtausgabe fragment 10) (Summer 1920) (piano)

Stück [Piece] (Gesamtausgabe fragment 11) (Summer 1920) (piano)

Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen [Songs of a wayfarer] (arr. Arnold Schoenberg, 1920)

5 Stücke [5 Pieces], op. 23 (1920/23) (piano)

Serenade, op. 24 (1920/23)

Suite, op. 25 (1921/23) (piano)

Denza: Funiculi, funicula (arr. 1921: voice, clarinet, mandolin, guitar, violin, viola, violoncello)

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Arnold Schoenberg & Anton Webern, 1921)

Schubert: Ständchen [Serenade], D. 889 (arr. Arnold Schoenberg (1921)

Sioly: Weil i a alter Drahrer bin [For I’m a real old gadabout] (arr. 1921)

Strauss: Rosen aus dem Süden [Roses from the south], op. 388 (arr. 1921)

Weihnachtsmusik [Christmas music] (1921) (2 violins, violoncello, harmonium piano)

Bach: Chorale prelude: Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele [Deck thyself, oh dear soul], BWV 654 (arr. 1922: orchestra): Absolutely exquisite arrangement of Bach, everything is perfect. Scored for cello with ensemble, impossibly well orchestrated and conceived.

Bach: Chorale prelude: Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist BWV 631 (arr. 1922: orchestra): Another absolutely exquisite textbook-worthy arrangement.

Quintet, op. 26 (1924) (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon): Dreadful. Long, boring, long, dull.

Strauss: Kaiserwalzer [Emperor waltz], op. 437 (arr. 1925: flute, clarinet, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, piano)

4 Stücke [4 Pieces], op. 27 (1925) (chorus, mandolin, clarinet, violin, violoncello): These are absolutely interesting, the curious sounds of the accompaniment, the bold inventiveness, the accumulation of tensions, worth hearing again.

Langsame Halbe [Slow half-notes], B (Gesamtausgabe fragment 12) (1925) (piano)

3 Satiren [3 Satires], op. 28 (1925/26) (chorus, alto, violoncello, piano)

Suite, op. 29 (1925) (E-flat clarinet, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello, piano): After a very striking beginning we are brought into some strange Schoenberg squareness, whether the reliance on the mannerism of the double-dotted eighth followed by ascending figure - "dum-da-dum, ba-dum" or the relentless almost Baroque rapid rate of change of harmonies. In hearing this music we are aware of one how good Schoenberg is at what he does and how this gets in his way, the constant counterpoint, the repeated similar phrasing, the reliance on old forms - there is a theme and variations and a gigue! As for the theme it is perhaps the most banal theme I've heard, hardlty a theme, more like a Cantus Firmus and not a good one at that, and the variations are similar to everything else we hear throughout. The gigue is relentless. I imagine Schoenberg was trying to make the connection between the contrapuntal mastery of the Baroque and his new technique, but Ihe is so constrained. I wouldn't say the piece is a failure, indeed it is important and a success in some way, but its not enjoyable listening and not even enjoyable non-enjoyable listening. It's like taking a bad tasting medicine.

Wer mit der Welt laufen will (Bärenreiter XXI) (March 1926; July 1934) (3 voices)

Canon (Bärenreiter IV) (April 1926) (4 voices)

Von meinen Steinen [From my stones] (for Erwin Stein) (Bärenreiter V) (December 1926) (4 voices)

Quartet no. 3, op. 30 (1927) (2 violins, viola, violoncello): This is like taking medicine. All the squareness is there, all the sorry caricatures of Schonberg's music, the martial rhythms, double-dotted eighth notes, motivic saturation. The only respite comes in the third movement a rather mysterious Intermezzo in which the rhythmic sameness takes a break and we have alternating units of 2s and 3s within a relative 9 measure.

Variations, op. 31 (1926/28) (orchestra): What has a reputation as a very important piece, yet I found it too suffer from the same problems I find throughout Schoenberg's music, with few exceptions - stiff rhythm, a sense of climax thwarted and overrelaiane on certain rhythmic motives. Disappointing.

Bach: Prelude and fugue, E-flat major “St. Anne”, BWV 552 (arr. 1928: orchestra): An orchestration of the Bach prelude and fugue. The orchestration brings out the various contrapuntal concerns of the original, for instance, in the prelude we have one motive answered by another wth contrasting orchestratration. Not klangfarben like Webern's version of the Ricercare, instead more familial in the orchestration. The fugue is also very well done: the sections of the fugue are broken up according to the families of the orchestra, thus the opening is for winds, the second main section features the brass (or was it the strings) and the third the other. In the final portion, all members come together. Hee we have a prime example of the instrumentation serving the expressive needs of the music.

Arnold Schönberg beglückwünschst herzlichst Concert Gebouw(Bärenreiter VI) (March 1928) (5 voices)

3 Volksliedsätze [3 Folksong movements] (1929) (chorus): Contrapuntal tours-de-force, it bears noting that Schoenberg returned to Bach and folksong setting and canons during this time when he was developing his technique. These are all dense, though only four voices. The third is beautiful, but not ravishing. Particularly nice moment at the beginning of the second verse when there is a small two bar introductory melt before the melody comes in in the soprano.

4 Deutsche Volkslieder [4 German folksongs] (1929) (voice, piano): Each works like a busy chorale prelude though the text is secular - the melodies (15th and 16th century German tunes) of course sound like chorales. These work much better when you don't follow the score and allow the contrapuntal clarity to pass over you, with the score it becomes overdense, too complicated, too many strands to follow. Without the score the strands become lines and their patterns elegant. Exciting pieces.

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