About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide
About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide
About Vienna - Your City Travel Guide





Viennese Culture: Arnold Schoenberg, Viennese school

Arnold Schönberg and the (second) Viennese School

Vienna's fascination with 'serious' music did not vanish with the end of the 19th century, nor did the Viennese confine themselves to the classic standards of Mozart, Beethoven or the Strauss family. At the beginning of the 20th century the masters of the second Viennese school (zweite Wiener Schule) started to investigate the principles of atonal music.

Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951), one of Vienna's major composers, started out as a self-taught post-romantic performer and composer. More and more he grew interested in atonal music. His fascination with harmonic strangeness, contrapuntal density and complexity culminated in the development of twelve tone music. His music was greatly influenced by contemporary painting, by Kandinsky and other expressionists. The expressionist lyric of Stefan George and Rainer Maria Rilke played a major role in his oeuvre, too. His ideas were loosely connected to those of the founders of the "Wiener Secession".
Being of Jewish origin and an ardent advocate of expressionist techniques he was forced to flee Austria and Germany in 1933. Arnold Schönberg emigrated to Los Angeles were he died in 1951 surviving his famous pupils Anton von Webern (1883 - 1945) and Alban Berg (1885 - 1935), the composer of "Wozzek".