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Born: 1874, Vienna, AustriaDied: 1951, Los Angeles

Arnold Schoenberg’s first major works, Transfigured Night and Gurrelieder, were in the Late Romantic style, but his musical vocabulary gradually moved towards atonalism. After World War I, Schoenberg began developing a system of composition that caused a paradigm shift in western music, his “twelve-tone” or serial system, so called because it used a serial arrangement of all twelve tones of the western scale as the thematic basis of a composition.

Further listening:Gurrelieder (1903)Anne Sofie von Otter, Thomas Moser,Philip Langridge, Thomas Quasthoff,Karita Mattila; Berlin Philharmonic,Simon Rattle (EMI)

Pierrot Lunaire (1912)Christine Schäfer;Ensemble InterContemporain,Pierre Boulez (DG)