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Alexander Zemlinsky: Lyric Symphony

  • in 7 songs (1923)
  • for soprano, baritone and orchestra
  • 4 3 4 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(3), hp, cel, harm, str
  • Duration: 45’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1. flute
    2. flute
    3. flute (+1. picc)
    4. flute (+2. picc)
    1. oboe
    2. oboe
    3. oboe (+ c.a)
    1. clarinet in A (+cl(Bb))
    2. clarinet in A (+cl(Bb))
    3. clarinet in A (+cl(Bb)
    bass clarinet in B
    1. bassoon
    2. bassoon
    3. bassoon (+ cbsn.)
    1. horn in F
    2. horn in F
    3. horn in F
    4. horn in F
    1. trumpet in C
    2. trumpet in C
    3. trumpet in C
    1. trombone
    2. trombone
    3. trombone
    bass tuba
    perc (3)
    violin I
    violin II
  • Composer: Alexander Zemlinsky
  • Text author: Rabindranath Tagore
  • Translator: Hans Effenberger
  • Table of contents:
    Vorwort - Texte
    Preface - Texts
    Préface - Textes
    I. Langsam - mit ernst-leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck
    II. Lebhaft
    III. Von hier ab plötzlich breiter
    IV. Langsam
    V. Feurig und kraftvoll
    VI. Sehr mäßige Viertel
    VII. Molto adagio äußerst langsam und seelenvoll

Work introduction

Alexander Zemlinsky wrote the Lyrische Symphonie in 1922/23 with the aim of bridging the gap between the lyrical and the symphonic, in a similar way to Gustav Mahler’s Lied von der Erde. Zemlinsky’s work is clearly more inclined towards the symphonic than the Mahler work which inspired it. Rodulf St. Hoffmann wrote of the piece in 1924 in the journal Musikblätter des Anbruch: “there are many songs of the earth. This is another. Its spiritual affiliation with Mahler is unmistakable – as is Zemlinsky’s own personality, which gives the piece its unique shape and meaning.”


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Next performances

World première

Prag (CZ)

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