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Arnold Schönberg - Biography

Arnold Schönberg is born on 13 September, the son of Samuel and Pauline Schönberg (née Nachod) in Vienna II., Obere Donaustraße 5 (prior to the incorporation of the Viennese suburbs: Brigittenau 393). Samuel Schönberg is listed as “shoe manufacturer” in the “Trades and Professions” address book. Schönberg’s sister Adele (born on 20 December 1872) dies on 8 May (cause of death: enciphalitis).

Move to Theresiengasse 5 (formerly Leopoldstadt 894). Birth of his sister Ottilie on 9 June.

Move to Taborstraße 48. Enrollment in primary school (Kleine Pfarrgasse 33).

Birth of his brother Heinrich on 29 April. Violin lessons.

"As a child of less than nine years, I had started composing little, and later large pieces for two violins, in imitation of such music as I used to play with my teacher or with a cousin of mine. When I could play violin duets of Viotti, Pleyel and others, I imitated their style."
("Introduction to My Four Quartets" 1949)

Samuel Schönberg acquires a commission and collection agency in the Kleine Pfarrgasse 31.

Enrollment in the k.k. imperial secondary school in the Vereinsgasse.

Composes marches, polkas.

Death of his father from pneumonia.

Leaves school at 22 January and begins an apprenticeship with the private bank of Werner & Co.

"All my compositions up to about my seventeenth year were no more than imitations of such music as I had been able to become acquainted with – violin duets and duet-arrangements of operas and the repertory of military bands that played in public parks." ("My Evolution" 1949)

Move to Große Stadtgutstraße 10.

“Meyer’s Konversations Lexikon (an encyclopedia, which we bought on installments) had reached the long-hoped-for letter ‘S’, enabling me to learn under ‘Sonate’ how a first movement of a string quartet should be constructed. At that time, I was about eighteen years old." (“Introduction to My Four Quartets” 1949)

Move to Theresiengasse 5 (renamed Adambergergasse the following year).

During the summer, while at Kierling (near Vienna), composes the first complete work still extant: »In hellen Träumen hab ich Dich oft geschaut (“In Clear Dreams I Oft Have Seen Thee”)« for Voice and Piano, after a text by Alfred Gold, whom Schönberg had met through his friend and mentor David Josef Bach.

As a member of the dilettante orchestra “Polyhymnia” he makes the acquaintance of his artistic mentor and later brother-in-law Alexander Zemlinsky. Moves to Leopoldgasse 9
Receives a prize from “Polyhymnia” for the “Schilflied” (“Bulrush Song”). Composes Three Pieces for Piano in October.

Quits his job at Werner & Co. He takes over as conductor of the Mödling Choral Society, “Freisinn,” the Meidling Men’s Choral Society, as well as the position of chorusmaster of the Stockerau Metalworkers’ Singers’ Union.

"Ei du Lütte" for Four-voice Mixed Chorus a capella.

At the suggestion of Richard Heuberger, composes the Six Pieces for Piano, Four Hands. Between 1 September and 30 November, works on a Serenade for Small Orchestra, which remains unfinished.

On 22 March, begins work on a Gavotte and Musette for String Orchestra (In Olden Style). Scherzo in F-Major for String Quartet (dated 27 July). “Mädchenfrühling” (“Maiden’s Spring”) for Voice and Piano (dated 15 September). Submits a String Quartet in D Major to Alexander Zemlinsky.

Converts from the Jewish religion to Protestantism. He instructs his first student, Wilma Weber von Webenau.

In July, breaks off composition of the symphonic poem “Frühlings Tod” (“The Death of Spring”), after the text by Nikolaus Lenau “Warum, o Lüfte, flüstert ihr so bang” (“Why, oh winds, do you whisper so fearfully”). Two Songs, op. 1 for Baritone and Piano (autumn). Zemlinsky arranges for Schönberg’s String Quartet in D Major, “op. 0,” to be performed by the Fitzner Quartet on 20 December at Vienna Musikverein.

Director of the Men’s Chorus, “Beethoven,” in Heiligenstadt. Beginning of relationship with Alexander von Zemlinsky’s sister, Mathilde. Summer stay in Payerbach.

“Die Beiden” (“The Two”) for Voice and Piano (dated 2 April). “Mailied” (“May Song”) for Voice and Piano (8-9 May). “Gethsemane” by Richard Dehmel for Male Voice and Orchestra (unfinished). Four Songs, op. 2, for Voice and Piano (summer-winter). In September, during a vacation in Payerbach with Zemlinsky and his sister Mathilde, writes the String Sextet "Verklärte Nacht op. 4" op. 4 ("Transfigured Night") after a poem by Richard Dehmel (final version dated 1 December).

Director of the workers’ choruses. Meets Alma Maria Schindler, the future wife of Gustav Mahler.

On 12 February, begins work on a Symphony in G Major (fragment). The announcement of a prize offered by the Vienna Composers Society inspires Schönberg to compose the “Gurrelieder” (“Songs of Gurre”). In a letter to Alban Berg, he gives details of the sequence of composition: “In March-April 1900, I composed the first and II movements. [...] In March (that is, early 1901) completed the rest!! Then began instrumentation in August 1901 [...] continued in mid-1902. [...] last worked on it in 1903 and completed it to about page 118. Thereupon put it aside and totally gave up! Took it up again in July 1910. Did instrumentation of everything but the final chorus. Finished that in Zehlendorf in 1911." “Gruß in die Ferne” (“Greetings to Afar”) for Voice and Piano (first version dated 19 August).