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Chamber Symphony No. 1

Composer: Schoenberg Arnold

Instruments: Flute Oboe Cor anglais Clarinet Bass clarinet Bassoon Contrabassoon French horn Violin Viola Cello Double bass

Tags: Symphony


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Complete Score PDF 25 MBComplete Score PDF 44 MB
Complete Score PDF 10 MB

Parts for:

AllViolinViolaPiccolo clarinetPiccoloOboeFrench hornFluteCor anglaisContrabassoonClarinetCelloBassoonBass clarinet



Piano (Edward Steuermann) Orchestra (Unknown)
The Chamber Symphony No. 1 in E major, Op. 9 (also known by its title in German Kammersymphonie, für 15 soloinstrumente, or simply as Kammersymphonie) is a composition by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg.
Schoenberg's first chamber symphony was finished in 1906 and premiered on February 8, 1907 in Vienna by the Rosé Quartet together with a wind ensemble from the Vienna Philharmonic, under the composer's baton. In 1913, Schoenberg again conducted the piece, as part of the famed Skandalkonzert, in which the heterodox tonalities of Schoenberg's Symphony and, more so, of his student Alban Berg's works incited the attendees to riot in protest and prematurely end the concert.
The first British performance was on 6 May (or possibly on 16 April) 1921, at the Aeolian Hall, London, conducted by Edward Clark, Schoenberg's champion and former student. The players included Charles Woodhouse (violin), John Barbirolli (cello), Léon Goossens (oboe), Aubrey Brain and Alfred Brain (horns).
The piece is a well-known example of the use of quartal harmony.
The Chamber Symphony is a single-movement work which lasts approximately 20 minutes. Even though it is listed as one movement, the form can be considered as subdivided into as many as five continuous movements. Schoenberg himself outlined the following form using the rehearsal numbers as reference points:
Schoenberg makes use of a "motto" theme constructed of fourths. The "motto" theme helps delineate the structural articulation points in the piece.
The "motto" theme first appears in measure 5 and is framed by two cadence which introduce the two main key areas.
Cadence 1 in F major:
Cadence 2 in E major:
Schoenberg's concept of developing variation can be observed in the relationship of the Scherzo theme to the rising chromatic line in the 2nd Violin part in Cadence 1,
as well as in the relationship of the slow movement theme to Cadence 2.
Schoenberg claimed in later years that the work "was a first attempt to create a chamber orchestra."
It is scored for the following instruments:
1 Flute/Piccolo, 1 Oboe, 1 English Horn, 1 E♭ Clarinet, 1 Clarinet, 1 Bass Clarinet, 1 Bassoon, 1 Contrabassoon, 2 Horns, and Strings (1 Violin I, 1 Violin II, 1 Viola, 1 Cello, 1 Double Bass)
Schoenberg respected the classical arrangement of the musicians on stage, instructing that all strings should be seated in the front row, the winds in the second row, and all the bass sounds should be grouped together. Although this composition is commonly called a chamber work, its performance requires a conductor. Some critics have claimed that an ensemble formed of ten winds and only five strings is inherently unbalanced; however, some of the voices are doubled so that no instrument is playing one-on-one against another. Nevertheless the piece requires highly trained musicians.
Chamber Symphony No. 1 is one of the most recorded of Schoenberg's works and has received attention from conductors including Pierre Boulez, Simon Rattle, Riccardo Chailly, Claudio Abbado, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Zubin Mehta, and chamber groups such as the Hyperion Ensemble, Hagen Quartett and Orpheus. A 1998 performance conducted by Robert Craft on the Koch International Classics label and reissued in 2007 on Naxos received a positive critical response.