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Title: Schoenberg's Rilke Settings and the Fragmentation of War
Contributor(s): Shaw, Jennifer  (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: In January 1932, while Arnold Schoenberg was seeking refuge in Barcelona from the "swastika-swaggerers and pogromists" of Berlin (Stein 1964: 163), Hans Rosbaud, music director of Radio Frankfurt, invited the composer to prepare a lecture on his Four Orchestral Songs, Op. 22. These were Schoenberg's 1913 setting of Ernest Dowson's poem 'Seraphita' (in German translation by Stefan George) and his settings of three poems by Rilke: 'Alle, welche dich suchen' (1914), 'Mach mich zum Wächter deiner Weiten' (1915) and 'Vorgefühl' (1916). Schoenberg completed the lecture, which was read on radio by Rosbaud, but its language is extraordinary: Schoenberg wrote that one should approach the songs "as in a hall of mirrors" and, while they appeared complete, he felt that they were "skeletons" whose forms remained imperfect and unfinished (Spies 1965: 17). Moreover, his focus in the lecture on extreme motivic detail has the effect of fragmenting the songs: indeed, Schoenberg surmised that something other than compositional logic must hold the songs together, something "assisted by feelings, insights, occurrences, impressions and the like" (Spies 1965: 3).
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Music Research: New Directions for a New Century, p. 304-314
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Press
Place of Publication: London, United Kingdom
ISBN: 1904303358
Field of Research (FOR): 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950101 Music
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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