Alexander Zemlinsky: 6 Gesänge

(Arranger: Gösta Neuwirth)

  • for medium voice and chamber orchestra
  • 1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 1 - perc (3), hp, cel, acc, alto sax (Eb), str (4 4 2 2 1)
  • Duration: 16’
  • Instrumentation details:
    flute (+ picc, alto fl (G))
    oboe (+ c.a)
    clarinet in B (+ bass cl (Bb))
    alto saxophone in Eb (+ soprano sax (Bb), tenor sax (Bb))
    horn in F
    trumpet in C
    bass tuba
    perc (3)
    celesta (+ hpsd)
    violin I (min. 4)
    violin II (min. 4)
    viola (min. 2)
    violoncello (min. 2)
    contrabass (min. 1)
  • Composer: Alexander Zemlinsky
  • Arranger: Gösta Neuwirth
  • Text author: Maurice Maeterlinck
  • Table of contents:
    Die drei Schwestern
    Die Mädchen mit den verbundenen Augen
    Lied der Jungfrau
    Als ihr Geliebter schied
    Und kehrt er einst heim
    Sie kam zum Schloss gegangen

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Work introduction

Sechs Gesänge based on poems by Maurice Maeterlinck were composed as piano songs in 1910 and 1913 and orchestrated in 1924. They show the art of song writing at its very best. The vocal part is characterised by sensitivity and simplicity, embedded in a web of sensuous instrumental voices. Alexander Zemlinsky added an introduction to the songs, which was not included in the piano version. Three sisters with golden crowns who want to die, blindfolded girls searching for their destiny and other female characters in the cycle conjure up paintings by Gustav Klimt.


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