Arnold Schönberg: Die glückliche Hand

  • 5 4 6 4 - 5 4 7 1 - timp, perc, hp, cel, tr, str
  • Duration: 20’
  • Instrumentation details:
    piccolo (+4thpl)
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute (+2ndpicc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe
    cor anglais
    clarinet in in D
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb
    bass clarinet in Bb
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon
    contrabassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in Bb
    2nd trumpet in Bb
    3rd trumpet in Bb
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    4th trombone
    bass tuba
    timpani
    percussion
    celesta
    harp
    violin I
    violin II
    viola
    violoncello
    contrabass
    music cont.aind the scene: piccolo
    clarinet in in Eb
    horn in F
    trumpet in Bb
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    triangle (+cym)
  • Choir: SATB
  • Composer: Arnold Schönberg
  • Librettist: Arnold Schönberg
  • Original language: German
  • Translator: Michel Ancey

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Work introduction

Schönberg’s “Drama with Music in one act” was first performed in the Vienna Volksoper on 14 October 1924, although it had been composed quite some time earlier. Schönberg had already published the text, as his first completed and separately published literary work, in the Merker already in 1911. It was written as soon as he had finished composing Erwartung (“Expectation”) between September 1909 and June 1910. Although Schönberg had at the same time started on drafts for the music but – unusually for a work that lasts only 20 minutes – it was only at the end of 1913, as he wrote to Franz Schreker, that he took the work at last “in his lucky hand.” Egon Wellesz characterized the composition as an exemplary work of musical expressionism, giving as his reason especially the use of “Strindberg’s technique of short scenes as a drama form of the individual seeking to make his way through an alien world instead of relying on human relationships.” And in fact, in the stylized characters and the static scenery, the influence particularly of Ein Traumspiel, but also of Der Vater or of the first part of Nach Damaskus can be seen.

Matthias Schmidt (c) Arnold Schönberg Center

View the full text on the website of the Arnold Schönberg Center.

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