Work Name: Weihnachtsmusik (Christmas Music)
Composer/Origin: Arnold Schönberg
Composed/Published/1st Appeared: 1921
Piece Style/Time Period: scored for two violins, cello, harmonium, and piano
Summery: Not known for writing harmonious Christmas music, Schoenberg wrote some little pieces of chamber music for himself and his family to play together usually at Christmas time. The most notable is the exquisite Weihnachtsmusik (Christmas Music) of 1921, for two violins, cello, harmonium and piano – a five-minute fantasia on two well-known Christmas Carols, in an unsullied C major, written with the apparent simplicity of the art that conceals art. This main tune is “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”, to which “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht” appears as a counterpoint in the delicate flow of string polyphony, while the piano, with carilloning chords, adds a tranquil commentary. Comparatively speaking Weihnachtsmusik is a very minor works, but it is an extremely beautiful one, and deserves to be better known.