Advanced

Home Sweet Home - A Hermeneutic approach to Arnold Schoenberg's First String Quartet Opus 7

Lamberth, Marion LU (2004) 14 th Nordic Musicological Congress
Abstract
The Second String Quartet by Arnold Schoenberg, written in 1907 and 1908, is breaking musical traditions at

least twice – (1) by leaving tonality, (2) by breaking the genre of string quartet, adding a voice who is

interpreting two poems by the German symbolist Stefan George in its third and forth movements. In this paper, I

want to raise the question about the reasons why Schoenberg might have added the voice: were they merely

aesthetical, aiming to renew musical traditions, or were they intrinsic and thus essential for the understanding of

this quartet?

As a matter of fact, we have quite a few evidences for the latter, for instance in his note on the third movement of

the... (More)
The Second String Quartet by Arnold Schoenberg, written in 1907 and 1908, is breaking musical traditions at

least twice – (1) by leaving tonality, (2) by breaking the genre of string quartet, adding a voice who is

interpreting two poems by the German symbolist Stefan George in its third and forth movements. In this paper, I

want to raise the question about the reasons why Schoenberg might have added the voice: were they merely

aesthetical, aiming to renew musical traditions, or were they intrinsic and thus essential for the understanding of

this quartet?

As a matter of fact, we have quite a few evidences for the latter, for instance in his note on the third movement of

the quartet, Litanei: “Ich fürchtete, die grosse dramatische Gefühlsstärke des Gedichts könnte mich veranlassen,

die Grenze dessen, was in der Kammermusik zulässig ist, zu überschreiten. Ich erwartete, dass die bei

Variationen erforderliche Strenge mich davon abhalten würde, zu dramatisch zu werden.“ (Stil und Gedanke

1976, S. 419) This indicates that he never queried the aptness of the poem, but possibly the one of musical form!

So if we can agree on the fact that the poems were intrinsic to his Second String Quartet we have all reasons to

ask why and in which way.

In my paper, I want to suggest that Schoenberg added the poems in order to clearly articulate features in his

music that otherwise wouldn’t have been evident. A closer look on other text references within the quartet and its

neighbourhood direct our attention to features in Schoenberg’s private life. Seen in a diachronic and

interdisciplinary perspective, we realize that Schoenberg used his music, his writings and paintings as a means of

voicing his own feelings and beliefs. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
musical hermeneutics, Arnold Schoenberg Fist String Quartet, life and work
conference name
14 th Nordic Musicological Congress
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0ffb37e5-63a8-43ae-86ce-e8b8f41f041e (old id 1538422)
date added to LUP
2011-01-28 08:10:35
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:11:36
@misc{0ffb37e5-63a8-43ae-86ce-e8b8f41f041e,
  abstract     = {The Second String Quartet by Arnold Schoenberg, written in 1907 and 1908, is breaking musical traditions at<br/><br>
least twice – (1) by leaving tonality, (2) by breaking the genre of string quartet, adding a voice who is<br/><br>
interpreting two poems by the German symbolist Stefan George in its third and forth movements. In this paper, I<br/><br>
want to raise the question about the reasons why Schoenberg might have added the voice: were they merely<br/><br>
aesthetical, aiming to renew musical traditions, or were they intrinsic and thus essential for the understanding of<br/><br>
this quartet?<br/><br>
As a matter of fact, we have quite a few evidences for the latter, for instance in his note on the third movement of<br/><br>
the quartet, Litanei: “Ich fürchtete, die grosse dramatische Gefühlsstärke des Gedichts könnte mich veranlassen,<br/><br>
die Grenze dessen, was in der Kammermusik zulässig ist, zu überschreiten. Ich erwartete, dass die bei<br/><br>
Variationen erforderliche Strenge mich davon abhalten würde, zu dramatisch zu werden.“ (Stil und Gedanke<br/><br>
1976, S. 419) This indicates that he never queried the aptness of the poem, but possibly the one of musical form!<br/><br>
So if we can agree on the fact that the poems were intrinsic to his Second String Quartet we have all reasons to<br/><br>
ask why and in which way.<br/><br>
In my paper, I want to suggest that Schoenberg added the poems in order to clearly articulate features in his<br/><br>
music that otherwise wouldn’t have been evident. A closer look on other text references within the quartet and its<br/><br>
neighbourhood direct our attention to features in Schoenberg’s private life. Seen in a diachronic and<br/><br>
interdisciplinary perspective, we realize that Schoenberg used his music, his writings and paintings as a means of<br/><br>
voicing his own feelings and beliefs.},
  author       = {Lamberth, Marion},
  keyword      = {musical hermeneutics,Arnold Schoenberg Fist String Quartet,life and work},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Home Sweet Home - A Hermeneutic approach to Arnold Schoenberg's First String Quartet Opus 7},
  year         = {2004},
}