Arnold Schoenberg

(1874 - 1951)
Schoenberg was born in 1874 in Vienna to orthodox Jewish parents of modest means. At the age of 17 he started working in a bank, while pursuing his passion for music by playing chamber music with friends, taking lessons with the slightly older Alexander Zemlinsky and composing. By his 20s he was producing works he felt merited performance and publication, including Verklärte Nacht for string sextet (1899). He also got married, to Zemlinsky’s sister Mathilde. His progress as a professional composer in Vienna was made difficult by the modernity of his outlook. Deeply attached to the classics, from Bach through Mozart and Beethoven to Brahms, he believed respect for the past meant progress. In 1901 he moved to Berlin, and there met Richard Strauss and began his work as a teacher but two years later he returned to Vienna, where he drew close to Mahler and gained Anton Webern and Alban Berg among his pupils. The development of his music now was rapid: there is a sense in the fast, dense First Chamber Symphony (1906) of a hurtling towards atonality – a goal he reached in his Second Quartet (1907–8). Gurrelieder, a work for soloists, chorus and huge orchestra begun in 1901, was completed in the new style in 1911.

Arnold Schoenberg Composition Timpani and Percussion Requirements

A Survivor from Warsaw

Timpani + 6 percussion
Xylophone, tubular bells, orchestral bass drum, snare drum, clash cymbals, tambourine, triangle, glockenspiel, tam tam

Cello Concerto

Timpani + 4 percussion
Snare drum, orchestral bass drum, xylophone, glockenspiel, tam tam, triangle, tambourine, clash cymbals

Five Pieces for Orchestra

Timpani + 3 percussion
Xylophone, orchestral bass drum, clash cymbals, tam tam, bass bow, suspended cymbal


2 Timpani
Int'l 32/29/26/23 + 32/29/26 Prem 32/30/28/25 + 32/30/28
8 percussion
Heavy chains, triangle, snare drum, tenor drum, orchestral bass drum, tam tam, clash cymbals, glockenspiel, xylophone

Moses and Aaron

Timpani + 7 percussion + offstage
Gong, 2 tam tams, snare drum, tenor drum, glockenspiel, 4 octave xylophone, tambourine, ratchet, flexatone, orchestral bass drum, clash cymbals, triangle, low bells (offstage) 2 gongs, sleigh bells, orchestral bass drum, xylophone, suspended cymbal

Pelleas and Melisande

2 Timpani + 4 percussion
Tam tam, clash cymbals, suspended cymbal, orchestral bass drum, glockenspiel, tenor drum, triangle

Piano Concerto

Timpani + 3 percussion
Snare drum, tam tam, orchestral bass drum, glockenspiel, xylophone, clash cymbals

Variations for Orchestra

Timpani + 5 percussion
Tam tam, flexatone, clash cymbals, orchestral bass drum, tambourine, triangle, snare drum, xylophone, glockenspiel, suspended cymbal

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