Arnold Schoenberg is a name that can still strike terror in the hearts of music lovers. He is forever vilified, and occasionally celebrated, as the composer who abandoned tonality. the man responsible for all that’s wrong with the contemporary music of the 20th century.

This concerto dates from 1942 near the end of Schoenberg’s career. It is a one- movement composition in four parts, and was based on a single ordered series of 12 notes that appear in the opening theme of the concerto. The original manuscript contained annotations at the beginning of each movement that read “Life was so easy", "Suddenly hatred broke out", "A grave situation was created", and "But life goes on". The music that follows each statement reflects the feeling expressed but when the work was published, these sentences were not included. Schoneberg disapproved of this kind of fixed musical interpretation. They were more meant as guidelines to his composition of the work, and not intended to provide a programmatic reference for the player or listener.

Schoenberg Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 42

Schoenberg: Verklaerte Nacht (Transfigured Night)
Camerata Bern/Thomas Zehetmair, conductor
ECM New Series 1714 465778-2

Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire - last two songs of Part 3
Jane Manning/Simon Rattle/Nash Ensemble
CHANDOS CHAN 6534

Schoenberg: Piano Concerto
Movements 1 & 2
Emanuel Ax/The Philharmonia/Esa-Pekka Salonen
SONY SK 53289

Movement 3
Alfred Brendel/SWF Sinfonieorchester/Baden-Baden/Michael Gielen
Philips 446 683-2

Movement 4
Glenn Gould/CBC Symphony Orchestra/Robert Craft
SONY SM2K 52 664