Arnold Schönberg: Lied der Waldtaube

  • from "Gurre-Lieder" (1900-1911)
  • for medium voice and orchestra
  • 8 5 7 5 - 10 4 6 1 - timp, perc, hp(4), bass tpt(Eb), str
  • Duration: 13’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st piccolo
    2nd piccolo
    3rd piccolo
    4th piccolo
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute
    4th flute
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe
    1st cor anglais
    2nd cor anglais
    1st Klarinette in Es
    2nd Klarinette in Es
    1st clarinet in A
    2nd clarinet in A
    3rd clarinet in A
    1st bass clarinet in A
    2nd bass clarinet in A
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon
    1st contrabassoon
    2nd contrabassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    5th horn in F
    6th horn in F
    7th horn in F
    8th horn in F
    9th horn in F
    10th horn in F
    1st trumpet in F
    2nd trumpet in F
    3rd trumpet in F
    4th trumpet in F
    Basstrompete in Es
    alto trombone
    1st tenor trombone
    2nd tenor trombone
    3rd tenor trombone
    4th tenor trombone
    Bassposaune in Es
    contrabass trombone
    bass tuba
    timpani
    percussion
    1st harp
    2nd harp
    3rd harp
    4th harp
    violin I
    violin II
    viola
    violoncello
    double bass
  • Composer: Arnold Schönberg
  • Piano reduction: Alban Berg
  • Translator: Robert Franz Arnold
  • Table of contents:
    Schönberg Arnold: Lied der Waldtaube

Work introduction

The Song of the Wood-Dove closes part I of the Gurre-Lieder; the work was written in 1900-1911, based on the Gurresange poems by the Dane Jens Peter Jacobsen. The theme of Part I is the love-story of King Waldemar and Tove, the Wood-Dove singing in ballad-style of Tove’s death at the hands of jealous Queen Helwig, “Helwigs Falke war’s, der grausamen Gurres Taube zerriß” (“It was Helwig’s hawk who tore cruel Gurre’s dove apart”).

Motifs of reminiscence from the first nine previous songs of Part I provide the work’s structural material and another semantic layer in this section. The version for chamber orchestra seems to free the motifs from the context of their logical coherence, shifting the focus onto the motivic work of variation and combination, the short, succinct motives interweaving with the song-like element of symmetrical bar groupings. In terms of form, Schönberg thus achieves a quasi-sonata shape, in which he integrates strophe-like complexes, introduced by the recurring refrain melody, Weit flog ich, Klage sucht’ ich (“I flew afar, seeking lamentation”).

Stefanie Rauch © Arnold Schönberg Center

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

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