Arnold Schönberg: Erwartung (Expectation)

Arnold Schönberg Erwartung (Expectation)
Erwartung (Expectation)

Arnold Schönberg: Erwartung (Expectation)

op. 17
Year of composition:
Monodram in 1 act
Scored for:
for soprano and orchestra
Arnold Schönberg
Text author:
Marie Pappenheim (25.05.1924)
Original language:
Fedele D´Amico (23.03.1967); Max Deutsch; Arthur Jacobs (26.06.1962)
Piano reduction:
Eduard Steuermann
A Woman (soprano)
4 4 5 4 - 4 3 4 1 - timp, perc(3), xyl, glock, hp, cel, str
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
3rd flute (+2ndpicc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
3rd oboe
4th oboe (+c.a)
clarinet in D
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in A
3rd clarinet in A
bass clarinet in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon
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
violin I
violin II
Table of contents:
Erwartung - Monodram in einem Akt op. 17
1 Bild (4 Szenen)
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Erwartung (Expectation)

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Alexander Zemlinsky gives a practical introduction to the way he rehearsed Erwartung (excerpted from Pult und Taktstock, March/April 1927 issue).

In my experience, the most difficult work is past when two artists, a singer and a conductor, convinced of the great value of this piece, devote themselves entirely to learning it until it is completely successful: the conductor, not burdened by any interests his boss might have, jokes along with the orchestra during rehearsals, and the singer, who – apart from having a beautiful voice (and the role absolutely must be sung beautifully) – must be capable of strong dramatic presentation. The most difficult hurdle is overcome when these requirements are met well enough. The orchestra part is not much more difficult than other modern works, and it has the advantage of virtually sounding “by itself,” so wonderfully is it scored.

I rehearsed the orchestra like this. I divided the players into very small groups, which I rehearsed separately; flutes and oboes: clarinet and bassoons: the horns alone: trumpets, trombones and percussion: first and second violins: violas, celli and contrabasses. Then all the strings and the harp: all the winds and percussion: and finally the whole orchestra without the singer. At that point, only two Sitzproben (rehearsals with the singer and orchestra) were sufficient before the actual stage rehearsals with orchestra began. Since the work lasts only a half an hour, much was accomplished during the usual three-hour rehearsals; it turned out that three such stage rehearsals were enough to achieve a thoroughly clear and impressive performance.

To alleviate certain intonation difficulties in the singing, I had a harmonium installed in a trapdoor located at a place onstage chiefly occupied by the singer, which occasionally cued her notes without disturbing the listeners in any way. Thus we managed a performance which betrayed not an iota of all its difficulties. 

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Erwartung (Expectation)

Arnold Schönberg: Erwartung (Expectation)

full score
for soprano and orchestra , 30’
Instr.: 4 4 5 4 - 4 3 4 1 - timp, perc(3), xyl, glock, hp, cel, str

Next performances

08 Feb

Erwartung (Expectation)

Nationaltheater, Brno (CZ)

10 Feb

Erwartung (Expectation)

Nationaltheater, Brno (CZ)

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