Introduction To The Composer | Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was born on September 13th, 1874, in Vienna, Austria.
Largely self taught from an early age, Schoenberg began studying composition and learned how to play the violin by the age of 8, later going on to teach himself how to play the cello.
One of his earliest musical mentors was a composer and conductor by the name of Alexander von Zemlinsky, with whom he studied counterpoint, and whose sister would later go on to be Schoenberg’s first wife.
Schoenberg’s stamp on the progression of music history was profound. His approach towards the development of atonality and increasing use of chromaticism eventually lead to the formation of his theories concerning twelve-tone composition.
During a time of extreme Romantic dissonance, Schoenberg’s new system of musical composition was considered so radical that it was rejected by even some of the most avant-garde composers, although the fundamental idea of a serial language for music was embraced.
Schoenberg was highly superstitious, so much so that his composition, “Moses und Aron” was deliberately spelled this way so as to avoid the unlucky number of 13 letters.
It has been said that Schoenberg’s superstitions lead him to foretell his own death, which eventually became true when he died on July 13th, 1951, of heart failure at the age of 76.
Maurice Ravel was born on March 7th 1875 in Ciboure, France, a small town in southwestern France less than two miles from the French-Spanish border.
Influence of living so close to Spain was later evident in such pieces as the famous ballet “Bolero”. Ravel showed great promise at a young age. To further develop his talent, at age 14 he entered the Paris Conservatoire.