Arnold Schoenberg's last composed instrumental work, written in LA in March 1949.
|Date||7th August 2017|
Schoenberg’s Phantasy Op.47 for Violin with Piano Accompaniment was composed in his American exile in 1949 and is his last instrumental work. Its original title hints at Schoenberg’s compositional priorities, and it seems that he composed the recitative-like violin part first, although he doubtless had some idea of the piano accompaniment.
Schoenberg’s output can roughly be divided into four phases: the luxuriant late-romantic masterpieces of his early years culminating in the Gurrelieder, the “free” atonal works exemplified by Pierrot Lunaire, the pioneering neoclassical 12-tone works of the 1920s and 30s, and then the final works which recall his second expressionist phase, albeit utilising this technique with unparalleled mastery.
This short and very concentrated Phantasy from this final phase can be divided into at least 7 sections, each inhabiting its own emotional world, but always returning to the rugged drama of the expressive opening section. Although the violin is always the main protagonist both melodically and rhythmically, the piano’s commentary, ranging from the sardonically humourous to the pungently dramatic, underscores the constant shifts of mood. The concentrated terseness of this work makes it one of the composer’s underrated late masterpieces.
(c) Daniel Herscovitch