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Romance Ré mineur pour deux violons et alto >>> sources

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Alliance-Walzer für zwei Violinen >>> sources

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Sonnenschein-Polka für zwei Violinen >>> sources

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Lied ohne Worte [I.] >>> sources

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Lied ohne Worte [II.] (Idylles Lied) >>> sources

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Lied ohne Worte [III.] >>> sources

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Recordings: OgreOgress Productions

Schönberg’s musical beginnings were not spectacular. To his parents, music was foremost a favorite leisure pursuit; his father Samuel was an enthusiastic chorister and his mother Pauline came from a family of cantors of long standing in Prague. Arnold was eight when he and his sister Ottilie had their first violin lessons, already paving the way for his career as a composer: “As a child of less than nine years, I had started composing little and, later, larger pieces for two violins, in imitation of such music as I used to play with my teacher or with a cousin of mine. When I could play violin duets of Viotti, Pleyel and others, I imitated their style. Thus I progressed in composing in the measure I progressed in playing.” (“Preface to the Four String Quartets”)
Textbook exercises, small pieces to be performed within the family and potpourris of favorite melodies numbered among Schönberg’s first musical attempts at composing. But his imaginative powers grew as his practical experience increased, clearly visible in the scoring of his works, which developed as soon as he had the opportunity of making music with friends from school. Some of his early pieces (including several violin duets) have survived, thanks to Hans Nachod (1883 – 1966), Schönberg’s cousin and the first interpreter of Waldemar in the “Gurre-Lieder.” It is uncertain whether they were derivatives of those initial compositions, or music for his circle of friends or perhaps even commercial work; but there is no doubt that his newly arranged introduction to Bellini’s “Norma,” the sentimental air “So wie Du” by Ludolf Waldmann, and Schönberg’s own “Alliance” Waltz were intended to be light entertainment.