Chamber symphony no. 1, for 15 solo instruments, op. 9

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Dover Publications, 1922 - Music - 144 pages
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Arnold Schoenberg completed his Kammersymphonie, Op. 9, in July 1906, singling it out as a "true turning point" in his compositional style . . . "the last work of my first period that existed as a single through-composed movement." To prepare himself for the creation of a one-movement work built on an internal, multi-movement structure, the composer studied the great examples from the classical literature: Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, Liszt's B-minor Sonata, and Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy (itself the study-model for the epic Liszt work).
From these roots evolved the multidimensional concept of internal "movements" that dissolve effortlessly into one another (here built on no less than nineteen themes), the whole supported by an intricate harmonic language — a major step in Schoenberg's "emancipation of the dissonance." As for its "symphonic" aspect, the composer regarded that term as a "panorama where one could indeed regard each image for itself, but in reality these images are securely connected and interwoven."
Little wonder that a work so harmonically and structurally provocative for its time and place was to cause an uproar at its 1907 Vienna premiere, stirring an unprecedented outpouring of controversial critiques. Gustav Mahler, however — a staunch supporter of Schoenberg, and a true friend — publically stood up for the composer's work (although he privately confessed that he could not fully understand Schoenberg's development). Today, however, this seminal music from Schoenberg's early period has become one of his most accessible works.
Dover's faithful reproduction of the complete original score of 1922 brings this influential and historically important work to the libraries of all musicians and music lovers fascinated by the extraordinary evolution of musical language in the first decades of the twentieth century. Scored for a chamber ensemble of flute, oboe, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, two horns, two violins, viola, cello, and bass. Instrumentation. Glossary.

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About the author (1922)

An American of Austrian birth, Arnold Schoenberg composed initially in a highly developed romantic style but eventually turned to painting and expressionism. At first he was influenced by Richard Wagner and tried to write in a Wagnerian style. He attracted the attention of Alban Berg and Anton von Webern, with whom he created a new compositional method based on using all 12 half-steps in each octave as an organizing principle, the so-called 12-tone technique. His importance to the development of twentieth-century music is incredible, but the music he composed using this new method is not easily accessible to most concertgoers.

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