Composing with Tones: Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23, and Serenade, Op. 24

Bryan R. Simms

in The Atonal Music of Arnold Schoenberg 1908–1923

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195128260
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848843 | DOI:
                   Composing with Tones: Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23, and Serenade, Op. 24

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From 1917 to 1923 Schoenberg conducted his search for logic and form on three separate fronts: thematic development, integration of musical space, and deployment of the full spectrum of chromatic tones. In January 1923, he entered into a contract with the Copenhagen publisher Wilhelm Hansen that forced him to complete four new compositions. The first to be completed was the Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23, for use in the concerts of the Society. In the atonal style, the piano character piece was Schoenberg's laboratory for trying out new ideas. The Serenade marked the end of Schoenberg's atonal period of composition, the end of a fifteen-year experiment with the capacity of music to absorb new ideas and to extend its means of expression. The Sonnet of Op. 24 was the centerpiece of the work as a whole.

Keywords: Op. 23; Op. 24; Wilhelm Hansen; Seranade; twelve-tone row; Petrarch's sonnet

Chapter.  17757 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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