Arnold Schoenberg


  • My work should be judged as it enters the ears and heads of listeners, not as it is described to the eyes of readers.
  • I see the work as a whole first. Then I compose the details. In working out, I always lose something. This cannot be avoided. There is always some loss when we materialize. But there is compensating gain in vitality
  • I am delighted to add another unplayable work to the repertoire.
  • An artistic impression is substantially the resultant of two components. One what the work of art gives the onlooker — the other, what he is capable of giving to the work of of Arnold Schoenberg
  • Market value is irrelevant to intrinsic value. … Unqualified judgment can at most claim to decide the market-value — a value that can be in inverse proportion to the intrinsic value.
  • Although our "gentle air" cannot improve the way hate and envy look, it does seem not to encourage firmness and decision. All is compromise; caution and refinement are everywhere. Everything has to "make a good impression" — whether or not it is any good: the impression is the main thing.
  • I find above all that the expression, "atonal music," is most unfortunate — it is on a par with calling flying "the art of not falling," or swimming "the art of not drowning."
  • I have never seen faces, but because I have looked people in the eye, only their gazes.
  • ...if it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.


Arnold Schoenberg was born in Vienna on 13 September 1874, died 13 July 1951. He was an Austrian composer, music theorist, and painter. He was associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and was a leader of the Second Viennese School. With the rise of Nazism, his works were labelled degenerate because he was Jewish. 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.

In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, an influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes of 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. He was influenced by Kandinsky and by Theosophical ideas

Schoenberg was also an influential teacher of composition; his students included Alban Berg, Anton Webern, and later John Cage. 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 polemical views of music history and aesthetics were crucial to many significant 20th-century musicologists and critics, including Adorno, as well as the pianists Artur Schnabel, Rudolf Serkin, Eduard Steuermann and Glenn Gould.


Wikipedia - - archives at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna - - his paintings

Schoenberg and the occult - - Schoenberg, Swedenborg and neo-Kabbalah – complex article


 voice recordings 1949 - - interview transcript - - Moses and Aron, opera, Chicago SO, Solti, 1984

Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op.4 - Boulez