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Interaktion von Leben und Werk bei Schönberg - analysiert anhand seiner Ehekrise des Jahres 1908

Lamberth, Marion LU (2008) In Varia Musicologica 12.
Abstract
This thesis is a contribution to the understanding of the life and work of Arnold Schoenberg as well as to musical hermeneutics.

The aims are (1) to scrutinize Arnold Schoenberg’s marital crisis of the year 1908, (2) to probe into the meanings of some representative musical works during this very period, and (3) to compare features in Schoenberg’s life and his creative work. A number of documents concerning the marital crisis and its three agents Arnold and Mathilde Schoenberg and the painter Richard Gerstl – such as letters, diaries, paintings, and Schoenberg’s testaments – have been studied in relation to the personalities of those involved. When dealing with literary texts, used by Schoenberg in his musical works, this... (More)
This thesis is a contribution to the understanding of the life and work of Arnold Schoenberg as well as to musical hermeneutics.

The aims are (1) to scrutinize Arnold Schoenberg’s marital crisis of the year 1908, (2) to probe into the meanings of some representative musical works during this very period, and (3) to compare features in Schoenberg’s life and his creative work. A number of documents concerning the marital crisis and its three agents Arnold and Mathilde Schoenberg and the painter Richard Gerstl – such as letters, diaries, paintings, and Schoenberg’s testaments – have been studied in relation to the personalities of those involved. When dealing with literary texts, used by Schoenberg in his musical works, this investigation makes use of literary reception theories. The overall disposition of the study is given by the theory of psychological crisis, including its phases of development and mastering.

Three major works – the First String Quartet in D minor Opus 7, the Second String Quartet in F sharp minor Opus 10 and Five Orchestra Pieces Opus 16 – are subjected to hermeneutic analysis, according to both European musical semantics and Anglo-Saxon New Musicology, and elucidated by a model by Anders Palm. His model – originally a model for the analysis of literature – combines features of the traditional hermeneutic circle with the likewise traditional chain of communication. A number of primary contexts – ideology, time, (life) space, (musical) language, encyclopaedias and inter-artefacts – which are crucial to all interpretation, are related to the horizons of both the transmitter and the recipient, illustrating the complexity and potentials of hermeneutics in general and of musical hermeneutics in special.

Chapter I Positioning describes the starting point of the investigation and its aims, as well as its source material and its methodological and theoretical outlines. Chapter II to V contain empirical inquiries both on Schoenberg’s biography and his creative work.

In Chapter II Before the marital crisis (1890–1905) are investigated the lives of the young Arnold Schoenberg and his future wife Mathilde, née Zemlinsky. Interpreting the literary texts, used by Schoenberg in his compositions, it becomes apparent that they have been chosen by the composer foremost as a means for self representation. The chapter is concluded by an interpretation of Arnold Schoenberg’s First String Quartet in D minor Opus 7 of 1904–05. Thanks to a private program, written by Schoenberg and kept secret during all his lifetime, it is possible to explore Schoenberg’s method of generating meaning in his music.

In Chapter III Approaching the marital crisis (1906–1908) we learn to know the young Austrian painter Richard Gerstl (1883–1908) who made Schoenberg’s acquaintance in early 1906 and soon became an esteemed member of his circle. He painted a number of portraits of Arnold and Mathilde Schoenberg, and he even taught Schoenberg to paint. As a friend of the family, he might have had more insight in their private life than anyone else at that time. His paintings of Mathilde Schoenberg reveal his empathy for her; however, there is no evidence for his passion for her. It is suggested that the marital crisis of Arnold and Mathilde Schoenberg began with the birth of their second child in September 1906 which was probably associated with sexual renunciation that led to a distanced relationship between the two, including idle misunderstandings. Several works by Schoenberg reflect this disposition of his, especially his song cycle Opus 15 and his Second String Quartet in F sharp minor Opus 10. The latter work was almost accomplished when Mathilde Schoenberg broke up from their summer resort at Lake Traun at the end of August 1908. A close-up study of its literary contexts show that the quartet deals with the lack of love and, in its forth movement, offers a solution by seeking comfort in spiritual life.

Chapter IV The marital crisis and its mastering (1908–1910) begins with the éclat of the marital crisis. Thanks to a witness who emerged as late as 1954 we have a few details about the event. Together with other indications – such as Gerstl’s and a few of Schoenberg’s paintings, and a sketch of a testament from Schoenberg’s hand – it is possible to approach the core of the marital crisis, and yet we are unable to tell what really happened. As a matter of fact Mathilde Schoenberg returned to her family already in the middle of September 1908. Gerstl is not mentioned any more and, apparently neglected by the Schoenberg circle and thus prevented from uttering any word of defence, he committed suicide in early November 1908. During this period Schoenberg’s texts deal with the subject of faithfulness, at first by setting into music Marie Pappenheim’s libretto Erwartung which he had commissioned, then by writing an own dramatic text, the libretto for Die glückliche Hand. The analysis of the Five Orchestra Pieces Opus 16 suggests a reading closely related with the events of the marital crisis. Thus we are tempted to believe that Schoenberg’s creative activity from that time partly served to handle the marital crisis. On the other hand, we have no idea of how Mathilde Schoenberg coped with the situation.

Chapter V After the marital crisis (1911–1923) aims to complete the account of Arnold Schoenberg’s private life until the death of his wife Mathilde. As to their mutual relationship we have reasons to believe that it grew more and more profound. Mathilde Schoenberg was not only loyal towards her husband and highly esteemed by him as an intimate advisor, but seems also to have been largely happy during the rest of her life. Her death in 1923 put Schoenberg into a new crisis and led to the completion of the text for his Requiem.

The results of the investigations in Chapter II to V are presented in Chapter VI Perspectives, bringing a survey of creative aspects in Schoenberg’s work, insights into his private life, and an outlook on further projects and potentials within the research on Arnold Schoenberg as well as on musical hermeneutics in general. An Appendix provides the reader with necessary source material. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Krones, Hartmut, Musicology
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Arnold Schönberg, Mathilde Schönberg née Zemlinsky, 20th century music history, Austrian modernism, musical biography, analysis and interpretation, musical hermeneutics, theory of psychological crisis, Zweite Wiener Schule, literary receptionist theories, Richard Gerstl
in
Varia Musicologica
volume
12
pages
279 pages
publisher
Peter Lang Publishing Group
defense location
Sal 314, Hus Josephson, Institutionen för konst- och musikvetenskap, Biskopsgatan 5
defense date
2008-09-19 10:15
ISBN
978-3-03911-515-0
language
German
LU publication?
yes
id
96605f63-ef33-4a11-83ac-521d77b92ebb (old id 1216644)
date added to LUP
2008-09-01 09:36:17
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:01
@phdthesis{96605f63-ef33-4a11-83ac-521d77b92ebb,
  abstract     = {This thesis is a contribution to the understanding of the life and work of Arnold Schoenberg as well as to musical hermeneutics. <br/><br>
The aims are (1) to scrutinize Arnold Schoenberg’s marital crisis of the year 1908, (2) to probe into the meanings of some representative musical works during this very period, and (3) to compare features in Schoenberg’s life and his creative work. A number of documents concerning the marital crisis and its three agents Arnold and Mathilde Schoenberg and the painter Richard Gerstl – such as letters, diaries, paintings, and Schoenberg’s testaments – have been studied in relation to the personalities of those involved. When dealing with literary texts, used by Schoenberg in his musical works, this investigation makes use of literary reception theories. The overall disposition of the study is given by the theory of psychological crisis, including its phases of development and mastering. <br/><br>
Three major works – the First String Quartet in D minor Opus 7, the Second String Quartet in F sharp minor Opus 10 and Five Orchestra Pieces Opus 16 – are subjected to hermeneutic analysis, according to both European musical semantics and Anglo-Saxon New Musicology, and elucidated by a model by Anders Palm. His model – originally a model for the analysis of literature – combines features of the traditional hermeneutic circle with the likewise traditional chain of communication. A number of primary contexts – ideology, time, (life) space, (musical) language, encyclopaedias and inter-artefacts – which are crucial to all interpretation, are related to the horizons of both the transmitter and the recipient, illustrating the complexity and potentials of hermeneutics in general and of musical hermeneutics in special. <br/><br>
Chapter I Positioning describes the starting point of the investigation and its aims, as well as its source material and its methodological and theoretical outlines. Chapter II to V contain empirical inquiries both on Schoenberg’s biography and his creative work.<br/><br>
In Chapter II Before the marital crisis (1890–1905) are investigated the lives of the young Arnold Schoenberg and his future wife Mathilde, née Zemlinsky. Interpreting the literary texts, used by Schoenberg in his compositions, it becomes apparent that they have been chosen by the composer foremost as a means for self representation. The chapter is concluded by an interpretation of Arnold Schoenberg’s First String Quartet in D minor Opus 7 of 1904–05. Thanks to a private program, written by Schoenberg and kept secret during all his lifetime, it is possible to explore Schoenberg’s method of generating meaning in his music.<br/><br>
In Chapter III Approaching the marital crisis (1906–1908) we learn to know the young Austrian painter Richard Gerstl (1883–1908) who made Schoenberg’s acquaintance in early 1906 and soon became an esteemed member of his circle. He painted a number of portraits of Arnold and Mathilde Schoenberg, and he even taught Schoenberg to paint. As a friend of the family, he might have had more insight in their private life than anyone else at that time. His paintings of Mathilde Schoenberg reveal his empathy for her; however, there is no evidence for his passion for her. It is suggested that the marital crisis of Arnold and Mathilde Schoenberg began with the birth of their second child in September 1906 which was probably associated with sexual renunciation that led to a distanced relationship between the two, including idle misunderstandings. Several works by Schoenberg reflect this disposition of his, especially his song cycle Opus 15 and his Second String Quartet in F sharp minor Opus 10. The latter work was almost accomplished when Mathilde Schoenberg broke up from their summer resort at Lake Traun at the end of August 1908. A close-up study of its literary contexts show that the quartet deals with the lack of love and, in its forth movement, offers a solution by seeking comfort in spiritual life.<br/><br>
Chapter IV The marital crisis and its mastering (1908–1910) begins with the éclat of the marital crisis. Thanks to a witness who emerged as late as 1954 we have a few details about the event. Together with other indications – such as Gerstl’s and a few of Schoenberg’s paintings, and a sketch of a testament from Schoenberg’s hand – it is possible to approach the core of the marital crisis, and yet we are unable to tell what really happened. As a matter of fact Mathilde Schoenberg returned to her family already in the middle of September 1908. Gerstl is not mentioned any more and, apparently neglected by the Schoenberg circle and thus prevented from uttering any word of defence, he committed suicide in early November 1908. During this period Schoenberg’s texts deal with the subject of faithfulness, at first by setting into music Marie Pappenheim’s libretto Erwartung which he had commissioned, then by writing an own dramatic text, the libretto for Die glückliche Hand. The analysis of the Five Orchestra Pieces Opus 16 suggests a reading closely related with the events of the marital crisis. Thus we are tempted to believe that Schoenberg’s creative activity from that time partly served to handle the marital crisis. On the other hand, we have no idea of how Mathilde Schoenberg coped with the situation. <br/><br>
Chapter V After the marital crisis (1911–1923) aims to complete the account of Arnold Schoenberg’s private life until the death of his wife Mathilde. As to their mutual relationship we have reasons to believe that it grew more and more profound. Mathilde Schoenberg was not only loyal towards her husband and highly esteemed by him as an intimate advisor, but seems also to have been largely happy during the rest of her life. Her death in 1923 put Schoenberg into a new crisis and led to the completion of the text for his Requiem. <br/><br>
The results of the investigations in Chapter II to V are presented in Chapter VI Perspectives, bringing a survey of creative aspects in Schoenberg’s work, insights into his private life, and an outlook on further projects and potentials within the research on Arnold Schoenberg as well as on musical hermeneutics in general. An Appendix provides the reader with necessary source material.},
  author       = {Lamberth, Marion},
  isbn         = {978-3-03911-515-0},
  keyword      = {Arnold Schönberg,Mathilde Schönberg née Zemlinsky,20th century music history,Austrian modernism,musical biography,analysis and interpretation,musical hermeneutics,theory of psychological crisis,Zweite Wiener Schule,literary receptionist theories,Richard Gerstl},
  language     = {ger},
  pages        = {279},
  publisher    = {Peter Lang Publishing Group},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Varia Musicologica},
  title        = {Interaktion von Leben und Werk bei Schönberg - analysiert anhand seiner Ehekrise des Jahres 1908},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2008},
}