Saturday, June 25, 2011

Behold the Sun!

Seht die Sonne!
Farbenfroh am Himmelssaum,
östlich grüßt ihr Morgentraum!

Lächelnd kommt sie aufgestiegen
Aus den Fluten der Nacht,
Läßt von lichter Stirne fliegen
Strahlenlockenpracht !


Gary Freedman said...

From the conclusion of Arnold Schoenberg's Gurrelieder.

Gary Freedman said...

The narrator is Hans Hotter, the famous Wagnerian bass-baritone.

Hotter's memoirs describe how he got into trouble by making fun of Hitler at parties. According to Hotter's obituary in The Times, Hitler kept Hotter's records in his private collection. When Hotter was interrogated about this, he answered that the Pope had some of them too.

Gary Freedman said...

Poor Jewish kid from Vienna destroys 400 years of tonality!

Arnold Schoenberg was born into a lower middle-class Jewish family in the Leopoldstadt district (in earlier times a Jewish ghetto) of Vienna, at "Obere Donaustraße 5". His father Samuel, a native of Bratislava, was a shopkeeper. Although his mother Pauline, a native of Prague, was a piano teacher, Arnold was largely self-taught. He took only counterpoint lessons with the composer Alexander von Zemlinsky, who was to become his first brother-in-law.

Gary Freedman said...

Franz Schreker conducted the premiere of Gurrelieder in Vienna on February 23, 1913. By this time, Schoenberg was disenchanted with the style and character of the piece and was churlishly dismissive of its positive reception, saying "I was rather indifferent, if not even a little angry. I foresaw that this success would have no influence on the fate of my later works. I had, during these thirteen years, developed my style in such a manner that to the ordinary concertgoer, it would seem to bear no relation to all preceding music. I had to fight for every new work; I had been offended in the most outrageous manner by criticism; I had lost friends and I had completely lost any belief in the judgement of friends. And I stood alone against a world of enemies." At the première, Schoenberg did not even face the members of the audience, many of whom were fierce critics of his who were newly won over by the work; instead, he bowed to the musicians, but kept his back turned to the cheering crowd. Violinist Francis Aranyi called it "the strangest thing that a man in front of that kind of a hysterical, worshipping mob has ever done."