Although the music of Arnold Schoenberg is often regarded as “too modern” in its style and sound, the 7 Frühe Lieder (Seven Early Songs) undeniably owe more in style to those found in the Late Romantic period. Six of the seven songs were composed before 1900 and only two of the seven Mädchenlied (1897) and Deinem Blick mich zu bequemen (1903) were actually dated in the composers hand.

Arnold Schoenberg’s drive to become original in musical composition can be clearly seen through the musical developments that take place during these seven songs. During the early ones including, Mein Herz das ist ein tiefer Schacht, Mädchenlied and Mädchenfruhling, we can see musical styles closest to those of late Brahms and Wolf.

Around turn of the twentieth century , like so many Germans at this time, Schoenberg became influenced by the mystical and metaphysical beliefs of prominent writers such as Strindberg. This had a powerful effect on his writing and, as can be seen throughout this cycle of songs from Waldesnacht through to Deimen Blick mich zu bequemen, the vocal lines have more individuality and the accompaniment patterns become fuller and more complex in harmonic style and figuration. At first he uses tonal diatonic keys, always resolving using traditional cadences, but by the last three the chromatic influences begin to steer him away from convention. He was starting to suggest the abandonment of the tonal barriers that had formed the Late Romantic traditions and move forward to one that he would continue to push all the way to atonality.
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Arnold Schoenberg 1874-1951