Arnold Schoenberg’s Merry Christmas music

Ever heard that before?

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  • That begins as “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”, but then seems to wonder off. It’s done in the chamber style that Schoenberg used on his arrangements of Strauss waltzes. Sehr schon (with an umlaut).

  • Very nice, and part of the collection of works that Schoenberg secretly wrote during his entire atonal period in oldfashioned classical style but never showed to anyone and wished to remain hidden behind closed doors until his atonal music has been widely accepted and played throughout the concert circuit. The collection found its resting place, probably for ever, in a big safe in the vault of the Schoenberg Center, and consists of string quartets, symphonies, concertos and a short opera on the life of Galilei. The Christmas music escaped that fate because Gertrud wanted it be played before the children after which the score was stolen by the nanny.

    • Dear Mr Borstlap,
      You don’t have the faintest idea who Schoenberg was … and your assumptions are as incorrect as they are nasty – a brief glance on his catalogue of works will show: opus 42 – opus 49!

      • To be sure, I know all too well who Schoenberg was, and for that reason I think he has been treated much too seriously – he himself could appreciate a joke.

        (Like his self-assessment: ‘My music is not modern, it’s just played very badly.’)

    • You may not like his atonal music, but why claim he “secretly” wrote tonal works when this one carries the opus number 49?! Nothing was secret, nothing is locked up.

  • Lovely and straightforward chorale prelude on the anonymous tune famously harmonized by Michael Praetorius, with a snippet of Silent Night as counterpoint. A product of, what shall we call it, Schoenberg’s Lutheran period?

  • See also Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden, and Webern’s Dormi Jesu. I first found the Weihnachtsmusik almost thirty years ago on a Taverner Consort recording.

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