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Schoenberg, Pappenheim, and the Expression of Solitude in
Erwartung,op.17

Melanie Feilotter
Department of Music
McGiII University

A Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in partial


fultillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.

Melanie Feilotter

1995

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Preface
1wouId like to express my sincerest thanh to my advisor, Professor Brian Cherney, for his
extremely helpful ideas and suggestions, and for his patience while having to communicate with
me long-distance. Many thanks 10 Susan McClary for her thoughts on the project in its early
stages, and also to Carolyn Abbate, my employer in Berlin during the 1994-95 year, for her
helpfulness with 10gistical malters. 1am also grateful to Rui Magone (Berlin) for his helpful
language skills, and to Simon Morrison for his continued support and encouragement.

Schoenberg, Pappenheim, and the Expression of Solitude in Erwurlnnl'. op.!7


Abslract

Schoenberg's monodrama Erwanung, op.l? (1909), appeared al the dawn of early Expn:ssionism,
a movement which profoundly affected the composer's early works. This movement dealt in part
with the alienation and isolation of the self in what many artists considered a corrupt and
degenemte society. The fll'st part of this thesis examines the possible influences of the
Expressionist and Symbolist traditions on Erwartuog's text and, to a lesser extent. the early
history of psychoanalysis, of which librellist Marie Pappenheim was certainly aware. Thc impact
of the changes made by Schoenberg to Pappenheim's originaltext, as weil as sorne of his e1usivc
stage directions are given consideration. The composer and librellist created a text which
effectively obscures the boundaries between the protagonist's conscious and unconscious
thoughts, hence confusing the audience's perception of reality and illusion.
Schoenberg parallels this dramatic disjunction in his music, as is discussed in the second
part of the paper. Certain representational moments (for example, pitch cells and ostinali) arc
presented; the musical context of these moments is radically changed in subsequent appearanccs,
preventing them l'rom being audibly recognizable, and l'rom retaining a stable meaning. This
discussion refutes earlier analyses of Erwanung which stress so-called motivic and thematic
connections. Severa! ilIustrative moments in Scene IV are highlighted. Although on a locallevcl,
certain musical connections exist, what remains most disturbing and thus most effective in
Erwanung is how the separateness of these 'climactic' moments gives the work its disjunct and
temporally unpredictable quality.

3
Schoenberg, Pappcnheim, et l'Expression de la Solitude dans Erwartung, op.l7
R5um

Le monodrame Erwartun!: de Schoenberg, op.17 (1909), a t compos l'aube


d'Expressionisme. Deux thmes-cls de ce mouvement artistique - qui a eu un effet profond sur
les premires oeuvres de Schoenberg - taient l'alination et l'isolation de l'individu dans une
socit considere par be:.ucoup d'artistes comme corromtue et dgnre. La premire partie de
la thse examine, d'une part, l'influence que les traditions de l'Expressionisme et du Symbolisme
ont probablement eu sur le libretto d'Erwartun!: et, d'autre part, la relation entre les dbuts
historiques de la psychanalyse et Marie Pappenheim, la librettiste d'Erwartllng. L'effet des
modifications faites par Schoenberg sur le texte original de Pappenheim y est aussi trait et
evalu. Puis on rend compte des indications de Schoenberg, malheureusement assez elliptiques,
pour la mise en scne de son monodrame. Le compositeur et la librettiste, au coeur mme de
cette premire partie, ont cre un texte qui russit obscurcir les confins entre la pense
consciente et inconsciente du protagoniste d'Erwartung. Il en rsulte pour les spectateurs une
perception qui, faute de critres prcis, confond sans cesse le rel et l'imaginaire.
La deuxime partie de la thse se concentre sur la question de savoir si la disjonction
clairement voulue par le libretto se reflte aussi dans la musique d'Erwartllng. Certains moments
de la partition (comme par exemple les ostinati) sont mis en avant afin de montrer que le contexte
musical dont ils font respectivement partie subit des changements radicaux chaque fois que ces
moments y sont mis en prsence. Ainsi, ces moments de la partition ne peuvent plus, du point de
Ylie de l'auditeur, tre identifis comme tels ds l'instant qu'ils s'insrent dans un contexte prcis;
ils n~ peuvent garder une signification stable au long de la pice. Les conclusions de cette analyse
rfutent les argumentations selon lesquelles il y aurait dans Erwartung des relations cohrentes
d'ordre motivique et thmatique. Cette deuxime partie s'achve par une analyse de quelques
moments iIIustratifs tirs de la quatrime scne d'Erwartllng. Il y a bien sr, de manire
ponctuelle, des relations musicales qui semblent motives, mais ce qui rend Erwartllng vraiment
mquitant et efficace du point de vue dramatique n'est rien d'autre que la faon drastique dont ces
moments culminants sont separs un a l'autres. C'est prcisement cet cart qui voques les
qualits principales d'Erwartllng: la disjonction syntactique et l'imprvision temporelles.

Schoenberg, Pappenheim, and the Expression of Solitude in Erwurlllnl: Op.l7


Chapter 1

Introduction
'rile Expressionist movement in its early stages was centered primarily in Germany and Allstria.
Despite extreme variations in style and approach, Expressionist artists sharcd to

SOIllC

estent a

sirnilar agenda, embodying a set of ideas and attitides which were as mllch a conullentary on
society and the self as on art itself. Common to their goal was a seareh for a new and radical

means of self-expression, achieved by the rejection of materialism and a tum to the inner self.
This essential subjectivism resuIted in a complete lack of concern for things external and mmerial,
and also for society itself: as Sokel notes, the ExpressionislS displayed a "basic indiffercncc to the
world in its twofold aspect as model and as audience."l Threatened by the rapid scientific and
technical advances occuning already since the 1860's, some artists held to the notion thm thc
individual was alone in a hostile, somewhat chaotic world. They considered all proccsses of
logical thought contrived and irrelevant to this inner truth which they sought to expose. Thc
philosphical views of Friedrich Nietzsche gave voice to the l'cars of Exprcssionists thm thc
modem world defined by science was in a state of decline. 2 His belief thalthe creative individual

lWalter Sokel, The Wri1er in Extremis: Expressjoojsm in Gennan Litemture (Stanford:


Stanford University Press, 1959), p.20.

2por a detailed discussion of Nietzsehe's influence on the Expressionists, see Donald Gordon,
Expressionism" Art and Idea (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987).

5
could tmnsfonn this destruction of society by tuming to instinct or innemess was appropriated by
Expressionistthollght. As Nietzsche wrote in the preface to The Will

[0

Power; Attempt al a

Rcvaluaton of Ali values (1901):


Genius resides in instinct; goodness likewise. One acts perfectly
only when one acts instinctively. Even from the viewpoint of
momlity, ail conscious thinking is merely tentative, usually the
reverse of morality...It could be prol'ed that ail conscious thinking
would wso show a far lower standard of morality than the thinking
of the same man when it is directed by his instincts. 3
It is perhaps this most important attribute, that of instinct, which links certain tum-of-thecentury artists under th", broad label of Expressionism. 1would like to briefly look at sorne early
Expressionistliterary works in order to detennine sorne of Expressionism's identifiable

characteristics, before placing Schoenberg's Erwartllng within this contex!.


One finds Expressonisttendencies as carly as the 1880's and 1890's in the plays of
Strindberg and Wedekind, whose works are often chamcterized by the use of free-associative
thought and depictions of dream-states - indeed, bath effective means of rejecting realism and
logic. The resulting fragmented, broken sentence structures and disconnected thoughts become
defining elements of later Expressionisttexts. Strindberg himself expounded on how this dream
form acts as a free, largely unstructured vehicle for expression in his work The Dream Play (190102):

In this dream play...the author has sought to reproduce the


disconnected but apparently logical form of a dream. Anything can
happen; everything is possible and probable. Time and space do
net exist; on a slight groundwork of reality, imagination spins and
weaves new patterns made up of memories, experiences, unfellered

3Ibid., p.33.

6
fancies, absurdities and improvisutions:

Characters are often treated as personifications through whieh the subjeelive ideas of the aUlhnr
are filtered. This process of abstraction became a means of alienating "external realily.. .rrom the
essential self."5 A typical result of this abstraction was that eharaeters remained namcless and
hence almost faceless; for example, in Strindberg's The Dceam Play, sueh generie litles as
'Woman,' 'Daughter,' and 'Poet' are employed. Lea notes the same tendeney to make "lypes of
characters" in Strindberg's plays The Father (1887) and Miss Julie (1888).
The battle of the sexes and themes of erotic tomlent also prevail in this body of literature.
Otto Weininger's influential and widely-read text Geschlecbt und Character (1903) essentially

posits that woman is without morals and without soul. Paralleling tbese attitudes (although
uninfluenced by Weininger), Crawford points out that the women in works of Strindberg .md
Wedekind are often subjected to this sort of negative representation (most notably the character
of Lulu from Wedekind's 1909 play Erdgeist).7 Continuing this examination of the female psyche
and its relationship to man is Kokoschka's play Murder Hope of Women (1909). A surreal.
dream-like atmosphere prevails here, as the boundaries between man and woman. and life and
death dissolve. Schorske writes: "...a Liebestoten is proc1aimed bere: a passion in which love and

'August Strindberg, Ejgbt Expcessjonjst Plays, trans. Arvid Paulson, (New York University
Press, 1972), p.343.
5S o kel, p.S3.

6Henry Lea, "Expressionist Literature and Music," in Expressjonism as an International


Literary Phenomenon, ed. Ulrich Weisstein (Paris: Didier, 1973), p.142.
'Dorothy and John Crawford, Expressjonjsm jn 20lh Century Music (Indian University Press,
1993), p.S.

7
love and murder arc indissolubly bound together. ,,"
Arthur Schnitzler's work in Vienna also had a considerable impact on carly
Expressionism. His use of the interior monologue (for example in the 1901 story Leutnant Gustl)
cxhibits another means of turning inward to find expression. He also used his eharacters as
vehicles for social commentary; Seymour-Smith dubs him "the analyst of the deeadent culture."
Sehnitzler's writing is of particular importance to the Expressionist movement because of his
close tics to Freud: the two cOlTesponded from 1906 onward and, according te Seymour-Smith,
were fumiliar with each other's work.
Freud's psychoanalyticaltheories were well-known in progressive Viennese circles,
largely through his founding of the Vienna Psychoanalytieal Society in 1908. Sorne of his mos:

influentiul works had appeared already by this time: Studies on Hysteria (1895, with Breuer),
and The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), for example. In the earliest of these writings, Freud's
use of the teern 'instinct' (Trieb) was unre1ated to artistic thought; however he later extended his
definition of the word to incorporate the creative urge of the artist. 1O A1though it is difficultto
assess the extentto which Expressionist artists were familiar with the work of Freud and/or his
associates (including, for example, David Bach and Max Graf - both members of the Vienna
Psychoanulytical Society), there are certain indisputable similarities in the thoughts of these
artists and the psychoanalysts, demonstrated in their exploration of similar themes. One may not

"Carl E. Sehorske, Fin-de-Sicle Vienna: Polities and Culture (New York, 1980), p.335.
"Martin Seymour-Smith, Guide to Modern World Literature (London: Wolfe, 1973), p.560.

IOsee

Lewis Wickes, "Schoenberg, Erwartung. and the Reception of Psyehoanalysis in Musical


Circles in Vienna until 1910/1911," Studies in Music 23 (University of Western Australia,
1989), p.88-89.

to suggest that Freud had any direct influence on the Expressionist movement as a whole:
however, his exploration of unconscious thought and the role of instinct. and the' literature whkh
also employs these themes, can ail be considered a product of that particular hislOl'kal moment.
when the turn to the inner self and to instinct was considered the only way of Iinding and
expressing 'truth:

Expression and Symhol in "Erwartung's" Tfxt


Erwartung's librettist, Marie Pappenheim (1882-1966) was bom in Brntislava (then part of
Austria, but now in the Czech Republic), and lived in Vienna between 1905 and 1933. In addition

to her career in medicine, she also had a broad hackground in literature. and wrote and published
her own poetry. Perhaps even more relevant to her ideas for Erwartllng are the librettist's illdirect
connections to Freud and the early history of psychoanalysis. As a distant relative of Bertha
Pappenheim, the renowned "Anna 0:' case of Breuer and Freud. she wouId certaillly have knowll
the Studjen iiber Hysterie (1895), if not via the Anna O. case, then at 1east through her brother
and husband, bath well-known psychiatrists in Vienna. Pappenheim's professional and artistic
experiences seem to combine forces in Erwartung. She wrote the text of in the sunUller of 1909
at Schoenberg's request. The origins of the idea for the drama have sparked sorne debate;
whether or not Schoenberg suggested the theme to Pappenheim remains somewhat unclear.
Given, however, the artistic atmosphere of Vien na at the tum-of-the-century, it is hardly
surprising that a draIna with such strong Freudian associations should stem from the imagination

of either the author or Schoenberg. Both author and composer were familial' with CllITent liternry

current literary and artistic trends. Kokoschka was among the firsl Exprcssionist artists known to
Schoenberg in Vienna. 11 He and Alban Berg were also familiar with, and fond of Strindberg's
plays, as noted by Lea. 12 And of course Schoenberg and Kandinsky maintained close tics, the
latter a great supporter of both Schoenberg's music and paintings.
Pappenheim gained access to Schoenberg's acquaintances through Zcmlinsky in the
summer of 1909. Prior to this however, she was already involved in Iiterary activity; in 1906
Karl Kraus published four of her poems in Die Fackel. 13 Her links to psychoanalysis have
already been diseussed; proof of Schoenberg's knowledge of the field is perhaps not as direct, but
warrants mention nonetheless. Wickes points out that three of Schoenberg's acquaintances,
David Bach, Max Graf, and Hugo Helier were members of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society.

Graf was particular1y interested in the psychology of the creative process, and in his writings, the
fundamental role of the unconscious and of instinct is exposed yet again:
Understanding the creative process implies recognizing the
autonomy of unconscious inner Iife...Inspiration, whether in the
forro of a musical idea or a musical vision on a 1arger scale, is not
the product of conscious processes of thought but of the
unconscious, of the instincts. 14

IIJoan Allen Smith, Schoenberg and His Cirele: A Viennese Portrait (New York: Macmillan,
1986), p.28.
12Lea, p.156.

13JUrg Stenzl, "Die Apokalypse einer Liebe: Arnold Schonbergs Monodram "Erwartung"
1909." in Die Wiener Schule in der Musikgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts ,ed. Rudolf Stefan,
Sigrid Wiesmann (Bericht ber den 2. KongreB der Intemationalen Schonberg-Gesellschaft,
1986), p.64.
14Wickes, 1'.92.

10
Discussions ofErwaoun~'s text remain rather Iimiled to ilS depielion in music, pel'haps
because it is regarded as having little literury meril. Alan Lessem notes thalthe texl "Ims nomOl'e
prelension of literary an than its closest contempomneous counterparl in the confcssions of
patients psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud," yet he also recognizes that the Iitcrary importance of
such a text p,rows out of "a...general inlerest in manifestations of a near-timeless and richly
textured dimension of experience... "15 ln the following chapler, 1 will present a discussion uf lhe
text with the intent ofbringing to light certain elements which typify the Expressionist acsthctic.
as weil as cenain elements of the Symbolist tradition which emerge. The presence of these
elements, the use of the unrepresentable unconscious as a theme, and Schoenberg's own changes

to the text ail give rise to a multi-layered, multi-dimensional work which creates an effectivcly
uncanny experience for the listener. A text about the unconscious automalically assumes a douhlc
role, one located in that realm of the unknown, the imaginary, and the Olher in the alienatcd reality
of the audience. 1 will also address briefly Schoenberg's very deliberule, yet very scant directions
for the stage, as they also strongly affect the audience's perception of events.
Divided into four continuous scenes, Erwaounl: traces the path of an unnamed Woman
through a forest where she is lost and searches for her lover. The brevity of the first three scenes,

in which she wanders aimlessly. 1l:nds a sense of urgency to her search, for nOluntilthe
comparatively lengthy, cathanic final scene is il implied Ihal she emerges from the woods into a
clearing and stumbles upon her lover's corpse. Inlereslingly, Iwo versions of Pappcnheim's leXI
offervery different interpretations of the Woman's situation. Stenzl noIes Ihat ull of the mllhor's

15Alan

Lessem, Music and Text in the WOrks of Arnold Schoenberl: (Ann Arbor: UMI
Research Press, 1979), p.68.

Il
deletions in the finul munuscript serve to mystify, not clarify, the Woman's state of mind:
"...die Ver'Jnderungen [sind] fast ausnahmslos von einem einzigen
Prinzip bestimmt: Gestricht werden Passagen, in denen die Frau
ganz konkret erzllhlt oder beschreibt..." [the changes to the text are
based almost without exception on a single principle: the passages
which are crossed out are those in which the Woman describes or
tells of something completely concrete...].16
Perhaps somewhat pamdoxicully, Pappenheim succumbs to 'reality' ut the end of her final version,
creating a concrete explanation for the dramatic events (the Woman's guilt as her lover's murderer
is establisiled). In Pappenheim's original monologue, it is implied that her lover was having an
uffair und thut his death was related to his liaison. The resulting impression was that "the sense of
illusion or hallucination...is basically cancellcd atthis point by a perspective of underlying
reason."17 Schoenberg substituted his own ending to the final manuscript, however, one which

leaves the Woman's situation unresolved. It remains unclear, then, if the man was killed, or if in
fact he even exists outside of the protagonist's imagination. A sense of unreality is successfu!ly
maintained to the opera's end.
Various reasons exist for Schoenberg's final changes. About five months before
E.'II1.UIij:'s composition, Strauss's Elektra received its Vienna premiere. Wickes submits that
Schoenberg would have read critic David Bach's comments on Hofmannsthal's use of Freudian
theories in Elektra:
What has been won...when this chamcter [Elektra] is reduced in
her psychology to an insuperably perverse instinct, as is the case
with Hofmannsthal? Such a form of psychoanalytical causation
16Stenzl. p.65, my translation.

17Wickes. p.97. See aise Stenzl. pp.64-5 for examples of the deletions made by Schoenberg to
Pappenheim's text

12
results only in a loss of tragic impulse...What remains is simply
'instinct as a facl' in itself and Elektra without any 'possibility of
shaping her own fate', her 'downfal1' merely 'a physiological
utility. dM
Bach's problem resided in Hofmannsthal's direct use of Frcud's psychoanlytic theorics, thcrchy
leaving "no room for dynamic character development or processes of tragic psychological
downfal1," which ultimately "denies the work its real (ethical) function as a work of arl..."l"
Schoenberg's proposed familiarity with Bach's critique may accollnt partly for his own
changes to Pappenheim's tex!. By exposing the reasons behind the Woman's hysteria and l'car, hy
making real a situation which otherwise would be construed as unreal, Pappenheim's original
ending risked reducing the drama to vn attempted psychoanalytic case study. Schoenberg found
the result unsatisfying; as Newlin states, upon reading this last section, Schoenberg instinctual1y

found "something in the text that didn't seem to fit the res!. "20 Pappenheim later recognized the
effect of the changes, and perhaps a1so justified her own, more concrete, ending when she said
that "as a result of these cuts ..., the mystical, or, shal1 we say, hal1ucinatory aspect was
emphasized, while 1was by no means so sure that a real event was not involved."21 Despitc
Pappenheim's reservations about the revised text, Schoenberg felt the changes werc neccssary to

18David Bach, 'Elektra von Richard Strauss', in Arbeiter-Zeitung, Wien, Jg. 21, No.85; Freitag,
26 Miirz 1909, pp.l-2, as cited in Wickes, p.98. Also revealing are Freud's comments on the
subject, as noted in the above article: "The art of the poet (as Bach very correctly stated...just a
few days ago ... does not consist of finding and dealing with problems...Rather, the poet's art
consists of extracting poetic effects out of such problems...", p.98.
19Ibid., p.98.

2"Dika NewIin, Schoenberg Remembered (New York: Pendragon Press, 1980), p.21 1.
21Letter from Pappenheim to Kirchmeyer, as cited in Wickes, p.97.

13
avoid reducing lhe Woman's slale 10 a logical, 'eonseious' one; in lhis way the drama remains on
a purely unconscious levellhroughoul. This ending, by refusing 10 succumb to a definitive
conclusion, is one of lhe means by which the boundary belween real and imaginary is blurred.
The anlicipalion which drives forth lhe firsllhree scenes poises lhe audience for sorne evenlual
c1arificalion of the evenls. But expectations are thwarted: the lislener is forced 10 queslion lhe
'ITUlh' of drama, and made 10 recognize lhalthe entire drama operates on a purely psychicallevel.
Several authors have argued thal Erwartung's text falls into clearly marked sections;
Penney, for instance, imposes dramatie divisions on the monologue, breaking it into frequent
shifls belween illusion and reality.22 These divisions, however, presuppose thatthe Woman is
conscious of the events, thatthe situation is somehow real - a supposition which ignores the

author's (in this case Schoenberg's) intenl. The fragmented, erratic nature of the text rejects a
strict opposition belween reality and illusion; moments which seem realto the Woman are
quickly undermined by her own hallucinatory state. Indeed, Schoenberg's statementthat "the
whole drama can be understood as a nightmare" indicates the absence of any 'reality'; rather, it
seems lhat our sense of reality was meant to be thrown into question. 23
Falck's divisions are less extreme; he perceives the text in terms of shifls between
'autologue' (or 'selbstgesprUch'), dialogue, and moments of 'memory', the latter being associated
with refercnces to the garden, moon, and wall, for example. His analysis is based on a direct

22Diane Penney, Schoenberg's Janus-work "Erwartung": Ils musico-dramatic structure and


relationship to the melodrama and Lied traditions (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas,
UMI Research Press, 1989), p.340.

2JStein, p.139. Schoenberg wrote this in his directions for a 1930 performance of Erwartung
in Berlin.

14
comparison to the symptoms exhibited by Anna O.; thus, according to him. the Woman's
references to these concrete images are "memory episodes" which "represent deep-seated
experience of the kind that would need to be purged in a c1assic psychoanalytic cnre."l' While
such an analysis runs the risk of reducing the drama to a case study rather than a piece of
liternture, the association of memory with certain concrete references provides an illleresting
means of determining the role of these symbols within the dmma. Certain concrete images in the
text make reference to the outside influences which certainly helped to shape the drama (such as
the ideas of Freud, as demonstrnted in Falck's analysis); Penney also notes, for example, that the
description of 'mushrooms with large yellow eyes' which stare at the Woman relates to Freud
(albeit superficially), as Freud was fond of the 'Herrenpilze' which grew in the Vicnna woods."

Such images, however, also have their own signifieance wilhin the smaller context of the drama
and other contemperaneous literature, and il is the repetilive use of some of these images which 1
will preseny address, before interpreting their use in the light of both Symbolist and
Expressionist traditions.
As mentioned previously, Falck associates Erwartunll's moon with the Woman's lapses
into memory (or past). More than Ihis, however, the image of the moon guides the Woman
through the darkness of the woods at the same time as it is established as a symbol of impending
horror. Il is thus not confined to episodes of m;:mory, but serves to blur the past/present
dichotomy by ils association with memory together with ils immediate presence. The Woman's

24Robert Falck, "Marie Pappenheim, Schoenberg, and the Studjen ber Hysterie," in GenmlD
1jterniUre and Music: An Aesthetjc Fusion 1890-1989, ed. C. Reschke, H. Pollack (Houston
German Studies: Wilhelm Fink, 1992), p.138.

2SPenney, p.65.

15
fear is often expressed through her mention of the moonlight, as demonstrated in Scene 1 with 11er
contradictory lines: "...here at leasi it's bright..." followed immediately by "The moon was so
bright earlier." Later this horror becomes stronger: "The moon is in the dusk...the moon is full of
horror." The moon is the only lightto guide her, and these remarks reveal not only 11er feur, but
the presence of a terror which the Woman at this point only senses. Again, with her words "And
this pale moon...this boundless death pallor," the allusion to death is made before the woman
herself realizes the presence of death. It is the moonlight in the founh scene which finully
illuminates - and forces her to recognize - her lover's body. Her first words after her discovery
("That is he!") are "the moonlight...," and, when the body does not disappear as she wills it to, she
continues "the moon is malicious," equating ils presence with the presence of the corpse. The

moon becomes the symbol which brings her together with her lover, yet in forcing her to
recognize his body, it also makes her realize their separation.
The moon illuminates not only this denth/life dichotomy, but also one of day and night; nt
the exact moment where the Woman faiters in her thoughts of the 'other' woman ("no, no...my
only sweetheart...not that...Oh, the moon staggers..."), the light begins to change, as does the
nature of her speech. Stenzl notes that as her 'conversation' with the man begins, the approach of
dawn threatens to eut off her contact with him, and she articulates her panic about moming's
arrivai:

Aus der verkllirten Vergangenheit, die durch die Gegenwart eines


toten Geliebten brutal abgeschlossen wurde, bricht am SchluB die
Frage nach dem Morgen, nach der Zukunft: "Liebster,..der Morgen
kommt..Was soli ich alleine hier tun...?" [Out of the transfigured
past, which was brutally severed from the present through the dead
lover, breaks in the end the question of the moming, of the future:

16
"My love... the morning eomes...what should 1do here alone,?"lh
The past is transformed, not only through her speech, but in her sudden l'car that night is ending with the morning, both the moon, and her lover, disappear. The moon's connection to the
presence of the body is further demonstrated in the second scene. ln complete darkness, the
Woman here thinks she has stumbled upon a body. The moon's absence here can be Iinked to the
absence of the 'real' body.
The symbolic treatment of the moon in Erwartung in sorne ways subsumes various
literary techniques cf Schoenberg's time. For example, the moon as a symbol of romance, nature.
and peace often prevailed in texts steillming l'rom the Romantic-symbolist tradition. Dehmel's
poem Verkl1irte Nacht was set to music by Schoenberg in 1899; in this poem, the moon is a

naturalistic. consistent element in the quickly-changing world of two lovers. Similarly


Brinkmann notes that in Dehmel's poem "Erwartung" (set by Schoenberg in 1899, op.2. no.l)
"Nature is portrayed as an artistic arrangement...the moon shines by means of its renection and
not directly.. .'027 ln Erwartung, op.17, the moon's romantic connotations are rather limited to the
'reunification' of the loyers in its light. However. the notion that it does not shine directly. as in
Dehmel's poern. eontributes to its ambiguous and enigmatic symbolic status. ln the stage
directions. it is indieated only that "moonlight illuminates roads and fields". but the audience
does not see the moon itself. This is probably partly because of its enigmatic character - its light
is at once a comfort to the woman and a menace. dependent on the Woman's nuctuating states of

26Stenzl. p.67. rny translation.

27Reinhold Brinkmann, "The Lyric as Paradigm: Poetry and the Foundation of Arnold
Schoenberg's New Music" in German Literature and Music.... p.98.

17
moon is more typical of Expressionist effects; as Penney notes, the moon as a symbol of love is, in
Erwaouo!:, "twisted to one of lunacy."28 Aiso revealing is the Woman's fearful description of the
moon in the fourth scene, because it indirectly alludes to her own fear: "Because it is bloodless il
paints red blood." The strong colour imagery is typical also of Expressionist painting, and Hans
Hollander notes the symbolic significance of colour in Expressionism:
Franz Marcs biaue, rote, und schwarze Pferde wollen nicht im
realistischen Sinne verstanden sein...Die Farbe wird hier zum
Symbol daflir, wie sich der Wald und das Pferd selber fhlen.
[Marc's blue, red, and black horses cannot be understood in the
realistic sense...the colours are here as a symbol for how the forest
and the horse understand themselves.]29
Schoenberg painted his own vision of the stage of Erwaoung; eight different drawings
show a faceless figure in a wood. The path of light falls on one or the other side of the painting,

but no moon is painted. 30 The fact that the moon itself is not seen (in these paintings or onstage)
allests to ilS importance as a symbolic, rather than a concrete presence. To the audience, only the
path of light and the Woman's words are able to evoke the moon's image.
Aiso significant are the confines of the garden wall (versus the openness of the forest),
which is another recurring image in the text of Erwartung. (Schorske infuses the image of the
garden wall with meaning by suggesting that the forest in Erwartung is a figurative extension of

2llPenney, p.65.
~ans Hollander, Die Musjk jn der Kulturgeschichte des Ig,und 20 lahrhunderts (Kln:

Arnold Vo1ke, 1967), p.73, my translation. The blood-red moon as symbol of horror also appears
in Berg's Wozzeck. Other strong colour symbolism in Erwartung includes references to yellow
mushrooms, white walls, and red and white skin and clothing for the characters.

rhomas Zaunschirm, ed. Arnold Schoenberg: Pajntings and Drawjngs (Klagenfurt: Ritter
Verlag, 1992), pp.308-13.

18
the garden [representing love] in George's "Das Buch der HUngenden Glirlen")." The garden
walls represent security for the Woman within this garden she was safe with her lover. Another
dichotomy is set up, then, between the safety of the walls and her fear of the forest whkh lies
beyond them (as Schoenberg wrote in 1930, "It is essential for the woman to be seen always in
the forest,

50

that people realize that she is afraid of it!"3'). Her first mention of the garden OCCUI'S

in Scene 1: "Oh, our garden...the flowers forhim are surely withered." Already with these wOl'ds
we sense the notion of death and decay, and thus on a larger level. the garden is not only a place
where her 'memories' reside (as suggested by Falck) but both a means of foreshadowing dealh.
and also of creating a past for the Woman. In the fourth scene she sings "1 keptlooking and
waiting...over the garden wall towards you." In this last scene it becomes apparent how Ihe

meaning of the garden wall, initially a symbol of peace for the Woman, has also changed to signify
their separation. Once a symbol of unity, now of separation, it reinforces the confusion betwccn
past and present; what seemed to the Woman to be a stable image, a pleasanl memory, in the cnd
also becomes a barrier from her lover.
Such symbolic uses of concrete images suggests that the Symbolist literary tradition, as
weil as the Expressionists, have informed the text of Erwartung. The Expressionist movemcnl
certainly grew out of the former; Sokel writes that "...Expressionism descends from the "musical"

31Schorske, p.363.

3'Stein, p.139. Schoenberg's paintings also suggest the Woman's fear, and the power of the
forest over her. In one particularly effective drawing, she is seen on the edge of a strip of light,
but still encompassed by darkness, and her body is bending in the direction of the trees, as though
controlled by iL

19

or "leitmotiv" symbolism of Flaubert, Ibsen, Maeterlinck, and the Symbolist poets...,,33 and
similarly, Hollander notes that "Mystizismus und Symbolismus sind im Expressionismus immer
zu Haus gcwesen..." [Mysticism and Symbolism have always been 'at home' in Expressionism].34
Pappenheim may weil have been familiar with Schoenberg's earlier works, (for example, as
mentioned, Verkllirte Nacht op A, based on a text by Dehmel, and "Erwartung" op.2 no.I, with a
text also by Dehmel, and Pelleas und Melisande op.S, based on a text by Maeterlinck).
Grounded in the Romantic-symbolist tradition, the texts on which these works are based possess
a symbolically-charged language, one which is evocative but does not make meaning explicit. In
Symbolist poetry, characters speak and situations occur in a way which implies but does not
make concrete - meaning is made c1ear only indirectly. Kugel describes the resulting impression

on the reader as the symbolist "technique of strangeness," a technique which emerges through the
unspoken and unknown elements of a poem, and which "Ieaves [the reader] with the feeling of
having '",itnessed something mysterious and utterly strange."35 On a locallevel, it becomes
evident that certain images in the Woman's lines possess a Symbolist slant - for example, in the
use of a 'malicious' moon which 'paints red'. Writing about Dehmel's "Erwartung" (op.2, no.l),
Brinkmann says that
the predominance of rather powerful adjectives over nouns...is
characterstic of the imagery of these verses written at the
crossroads of Symbolism and Jugendstil. These are adjectives that
stress the visual, modifying their objects by putting them in a

33Sokel, pA2.
34Hollander, p.73, my translation.

35James Kugel, The Technigues of Strangeness in Svrnbolist Poetry (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1971), p.S.

20

precious light. 36
Although most of Erwanllni:'S language is extremely direct ,lI1d not so descriptive, tlwre
are several moments which lapse into a more descriptive, poetie style, and in so doing, stress the
visual aspect of the drama. In her 'dialogue' with her lover, the Woman occomes almost obsessed
with the colours white and red; acts of hatred and love are expressed through the symbolic
association with these colours: "the witch, the hussy...the woman with the white anns...you love
them, those white arms...as you kiss them red... I'll drag her by her white anns." The tinal
moments of the drama also appeal intensely to one's sense of the visual: "in this dremn without
limits or colours.....ali the colours of the world shone from your eyes..light will come for
everyone but me alone in my darkness" and "A thousand people pass by...lhey're ail alive, lhcir

eyes shine your kiss is like a beacon in my darkness...my lips bum and glow." Hcre, the
Woman's thoughts transcend her immediate situation - she focusses not on the corpse or her own
fear but on the ideas oflight, darkness, and colour as symbols of her alienation from the outer
world. The opposition and play of light and dark, night and day, is important in Erwartuni: (as
demonstrated in the discussion of the moon's role); with each repetition they gradually assume a
symbolic significance as the drama unfolds. These repetitions are spomaneous, unconsciolls to
the Woman, and yet the repetitions indicate to the listener thatthe images are given symbolic
meaning through the Woman's voice (for example, with the horror-filled moon). ft is in part
through the symbolic repetitions which run through the text that the Woman's fate is hintcd at .
that of her ultimate realization of death.
Susan Youens further clarifies the importance of symbolic repetition, as found in

36Brinkmann, p.99.

21

Maeterlinck's Pellas et Mlisande;


Maeterlinck creates his heavily fatalistic atmospheres in part by
means of texlualleitmotifs...As the dramatis personae echo earlier
words and actions, they unwittingly demonstrate the inexorability of
Destiny's designs. 37
Although few pamllels can be drawn between the two texts, Erwartunl: possesses this mood of
fatality, not only because of the outward appearance of the Woman and the stage, but also
through her texl. Because very liule is made explicitto the audience in the way of a concrete
story here, we rely on the Woman's descriptive language, and on her perceptions of fear to create
our own fear; her bodily gestures and her descriptions of things not seen by us (for example, the
mocn, the wall, the other woman, shadows, the body itself) - these things, these images
necessarily become symbols for her breakdown, as they reappear inconsistently, under different

guises, throughout the drarna.


There is, however, a significant difference between Erwartllng and the texts of the
Symbolist writers, one which roots Erwartunl: more firmly in the Expressionist tradition. Because
it is set as a monologue, Erwartung deals with the isolation and alienation of a single being; the
Woman automatically subsumes the role of ail other characters. Her own fate, and those images
which hint at her fate must emerge through her voice alone and not through any explicit narration
or real dialogue; this dramatic internalization is a specifically Expressionistic trait. Ali the
circumstances, then, revolve around the Woman - she is central to them and driven by them, and
we are only permiued to sec the outer circumstances from her highly subjective, inner world (her
unconscious). Lukacs clarifies this notion when discussing the "essence" of the Expressionisl

37Susan Youens, "An Unseen Player: Destiny in Pellas et Mlisande," in Readjng Opera, ed.
A.Groos and R.Parker, p.74.

22
work and how it is achieved. According to him, the Impressionists and Symbolisls
...still preserved the general structure of immediate realily...they
confronted the subject as an external world...The re"ersallhat
expressionism seeks to effect was that of transferring the process of
creation ...into the structure of the work itself... He [the
Expressionist] does this in the objective forms..by presenting only
this experiential centre as relity, and grouping everything else
around this centre, seen only from this slUndpoint.'"
Lukacs notes that the Symbolists and Expressionists shared cenain aesthetics. For inslance, both
were concemed with the effect of 'objective reality' on the subject of their drama. This is ccnainly
evident in Erwartung: the Woman can also be seen as an isolated, alienated eharacter, forccd to
withdraw from the conscious world because her hysteria, her unconscious thoughts could find no
expression there. Lukacs, however, voices the fundamental difference belwcen Symbolisls and

Expressionists, that difference which Erwanung makes clear:


...with these latter [symbolists and impressionists] (e.g.
Maeterlinck) objective relity actually disappears, giving way to the
impression il makes on the subject, such as abstract fear, elc.,
whereas the expressionist dramatists place the writer himself on the
stage as central character, and portrays ail the other actors only
from his point of view - exclusively as whatthey are for this central
character (the expressionist 'essence').3'
Between Pappenheim and Schoenberg's changes, the text of Erwanun~ can be pcrcdved
as an amaIgam of trends which appeared around the turn-of-the-century. The unnamed Woman is

38Georg Lukacs, Essays on Realism, trans. David Fembach (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980),

p.105-06.

3"Ibid. Incidentally, this is aIse a difference which separates Erwammg from Salome, two
works which are frequently compared because of the 'hysterical' woman as the central character.
Unlike Salome, though, Erwartung's Woman is somehow more sympathetic: she is perceived as a
victim of circumslances beyond her control. Crawford notes, however, that "the Symbolisl~
regarded SaIome...as a perfect incarnation of the fatal, man-destroying woman...", a label which
seems inappropriate for ErwaTltmg's bewildered protagonist. (Crawford, p.32).

23
the true creation of the early generation of Expr(.ssionists who were the firstto put symbols of the
unconscious, dreams, and psychoanalysis into play (the laller aspect most specifically in the works
of Schnitzler); as Crawford states, "Ihe 'inner necessily' so many expressionist anists followed is
closely relatcd to the new primacy of psychology."'o But the monodrama goes beyond a mere
representation of a Freudian-based character by drawing also on various literary traditions. The
protagonist is given depth through a language which alternates between being merely evocative
and extremely direct. Certain images, by being repeated, are broughtlo life and given symbolic
significance through the Woman's voice; paradoxically, while she gives voice to these images,
they are also the forces which cause her fear and thus control her actions, gestures, and emotions.
Far from being a straightforward 'case study', then,

Erwart!!n~'s

text, by appropriating both

psychoanalytic components and various lilerary techniques, possesses man)' dimensions of


expression, ail effectively filtercd through a single voice.

OOlbid., p.S.

24
Chapter 2

The Pursuit of Expression: "Erwartung's" Musical Language


The music of Erwartung was written in just seventeen days, betwcen August 27 nnd Septembcr
12, 1909. Rosen considers it "one of the most effective, ensily ncccssiblc, nnd immcdintely
convincing of Schoenberg's works" while nt the same time, the "appnrently totnl freedom from
the requirements of musical form" deem it "inexplicable and incontrovertible."41 By no menns
contradictory, these remarks reveal how Erwartung on the one hand provides a degree of
comprehensibility to which the listener can relate, but on the other, a musical complexity which

defies categorization and hence, satisfactory explanntion. Its first performance in June 1924
evoked a variety of strong responses which often emphasized this elusive quality of the work; for
example, the critic Paul Riesenfeld wrote:
SchOnberg protestiert so sehr gegen der Opemkitsch, daB er seine
sogennante Musik auBerhalb jedes Zusammenhanges mit
seelischem Leben oder szenischen Vorglingen lliBt..." [Schocuberg
protests so much against opera 'kitsch' that he leaves his so-called
music outside of any connections with spirituallife or dramatic
events.]'2
Another critic, Erich Steinhard, was more favourably impressed:
Neu ist nur die ungeheur dichte Konzentrierung auf einen
Seelenzustand und die musikalische Ausdrucksintensitlit, die die
literarische Fundierung berhaupt vergessen IliBt. [New is the

41Charles Rosen, Arnold Schoenberg, (New York: Viking Press, 1975), p.39.

42Paul Riesenfeld, "Das erste Internationale Musikfest in Prag", in: Signale rur die
musikalische Welt, Berlin, Juli 1924, p.l106-7, cited in Laborda, Studien zu SchOnbergs
Monodram "Erwartung" Op.17, (LaaberVerlag, 1981), p.29, my translation.

"

25
tremendous density of foeus towards a spiritual condition and
expressive intensity of musie which overlooks its literary
foundation.]'3
The authors of the more positive critiques consistent1y realized the importance and originality of
Schoenberg's language, one, as many contemporary writers have pointed out, which seems as
spontaneous and instinctual as the text itself. Schoenberg's own remarks on the relationship of
the instinctual drives of the unconscious to creativity shed light on his compositional process:
The creativity of the artist is instinctive. The conscious has liule
influence upon il. The artist has the feeling as if,What he is doing
were dictated to him. As if he were doing it only according to a
force within himself. He does not know whether it is new or old,
good or bad, beautiful or ugly. He feels only the instinct, which he
must obey...Who would want to dare to differentiate between right
and wrong in the case of instinct, in the case of the unconscious'r4

Written in 191 l, these comments correspond to the period in Schoenberg's life when he sought
new forms of musical expssion; indeed, even in earlier works (such as Das Buch der
hngenden Grlen op.15), the composer had already abandoned the vestiges of conventional
harmonic language. The instinctual process of which he speaks results in music which is also
completcly frced from traditional forrns. Critics recognized the lack of musical stabiIity; such
observations in the above reviews that Schoenberg's music is unconnected to
dramatic/spirituallIiterary events (whether intended negatively or not) suggest that the music
transcends textual reprcsentation or mirroring, and exists rather on its own, somehow
ungraspable level. Vpon hearing Erwartung, the firs! impression (as arliculated by the above

43Erich Steinhard, Die Musik, XVYII, StuttgartlBerlinlLeipzig, August 1924, p.846, cited in
Laborda, p.28-9.
44Schoenberg, Harmonielehrc, Wien 191 III966, p.497, as cited in Wickes, p.88.

26
reviews) is one of musical discontinuity; yet, onc also senses a connection between music and
text which makes it immediately comprehensible. As discussed in the previous ehapter,
Schoenberg's changes to the text create a drama which appears to unfold in the realm of the
unconscious, that is, one which leaves the audience undecided about the actual reality of thc
dramatic events. Schoenberg proceeded to translate this idea into music, oftcn prevcnting thc
listener l'rom deciding on the function of various musical events. As Oliver Neighbour writes:
"He [Schoenberg] wanted to leave behind him concentration on separate feelings in unreal
isolation, along with the associated musical structures controlled by conscious logic... "4~
In the following discussion, 1will examine various aspects of Schoenberg's musical

language, including the motivic construction, orchestration, and texture. Analyses of Erwartung

have tended to isolate particular motives and focus on their repetition as a unifying device.
These motives are also frequently given literary associations as a means of drawing together the
text and music. In the first part, then, 1will use sorne of these analyses with the intent of
showing how the interpretation of such motives as unifying clements is deceptive and, indeed,
opposes what is perceived by the listener. Structural clements are undoubtedly present, however
one can question whether they were intended to provide a sense of unity, or if they in fact do the
opposite: resist the notion of unity, making the listener question their function

a~

signifying,

representational clements. As Rosen writes,


...in music before Schoenberg, each separate occurrence of a motif
connects with the others either as part of a larger continuity or by
being placed in a context that c1early recalls...its other
appearances...but this continuity and similarity are both refused us

450liver Neighbour, "Erwartung" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie
(London: Macmillan, 1992), p.75.

27
by Schoenberg. Every eighteenth-century work...is full of rising
and descending thirds, but nothing permits us to claim this as a
motif until it is contextually given this status within the work, and
for this there must be a confluence of rhythm, harmony, and texture
lacking in Erwartung. 46
Through the writings of Dahlhaus47 and Stenzl, it becomes apparent that motivic connections
provide insights into tlie formai layout of the work, at the same time as their ambiguity does not
permit conventional interpretation. Through constantly changing orchestration, and linear and
vertical treatment of textures, the manipulation of so-called motives throws their meaning as
connective clements into confusion. l will begin by focussing on the first three scenes, showing
the impossibility of attaching specifie motives to specifie textual ideas. This discussion will
expand on Dahlhaus's notion that individuallines are separately conceived and developed; this

individuality often becomes manifest in the vocal line. l will also discuss the presence of various
ostinati in Erwartung, and their ability to provide stability on a local level and to destroy musical
continuity over the course of the work especially when perceived in light of dramatic events.
In the last part of the chapter, l will proceed to look at several key (climactic) moments in

the fourth scene which further demonstrate how Schoenberg abandons convention. With the
discovery of the dead body, Erwartung's Woman experiences a heightened fear and lapses
continually into references to the pas!. Drawing partly on T.W. Adomo's comments, l will look
at how her erratic text becomes manifest in the music, destroying the notion of temporal
continuity.
46Rosen, pAl

47Carl Dahlhaus, "Expressive principle and orchestral polyphony in Schoenberg's Erwartung,"


in Schoenberg and the New Music, trans. D.Puffett, (London: Cambridge University Press,
1987).

28
Pitches and Musical Gestures in Scenes IIII
The first three scenes of Erwartung are generally regarded as an introduction, or n wny into the
larger, eathartic fourth seene:
Diese drei Eingangsszenen zeigen drei Stationen auf dem Gnng
dureh den Wald, dem Gnng nueh zum Zentrum des Werkes...
[These three opening seenes aet as three stations on the path
through the woods, the path also to the center of the workV"
By examining sorne of the motivie links in the firstthree seenes, we sec how these connections
create elements of coherence in the work, but also how their constant transformation blurs their
clear function as motives. While able to provide unity on one level, connective elenlents also
show a disparity between vocal and orehestrallines; form here is achieved by this stress on the
difference, not the similarities, among the various voiees. The listener often experiences

foremost the individuality of the voices (most often that of the singer) in Erwartung. What seems
to bind the work, rather than motivic relations, is the instinctive immediacy of the voice and
instruments. We hear musical discontinuity, since the sounds which arc in the foreground are
seemingly disjointed and formless, and the images in the text demand this sort of disunified
musical surface. Cnly doser musical analysis reveals how musical events serve at once to unify
through the repetition of certain gestures, and to destroy unity by forcing together opposing
compositional processes (a point to which 1wil1later retum). Dahlhaus suggests that the
polyphonie writing does not eonsist only of a series of motives which draw together the voices,
but that it becomes a form-building expressive device: "Vocalline, instrumental Hauptstimmc,

Nebenstimme and accompaniment - to use a crude classification - form a hierarchy and are

48Stenzl, p.66, my translation.

29
distinguished from one another aecording to the differing importance of their role in the
polyphonic discourse..." Centralto the work's construction, then, is

"th~

idea of an

expressiveness unfolded polyphonically."49


Motives refer to the presence of self-contained melodic ideas which recur throughout a
work, retaining their identity largely through intervallic content and contour. lO Although certain
collections of pitch cells do recur frequently throughoutthe work, 1will argue that their function
as creators of unity and continuity is shallered by their recurrences in radically different musical
contexts; for examplc changes in texture, register, and instrumentation. The presence of these
pitch cells is also often overshadowed by musical ideas which resemble more strongly motives
(or figures) rather than cells by retaining an identifiable shape and contour without necessarily

containing the same pitch and/or intervallic content with each appearance.
Both Lessemll and Buchananl2 identify several key pitch cells which appear to constitute
the main part of the work's thematic material. The cells are discussed in terms of their Iinear
arrangement and their recurrences in both instrumental and vocal parts. Through such analysis,
both authors intend to show Erwartung's structural coherence, by stressing the repetition of these
pitches within each section. Such analyses ignore the ability of these figures to inform the

49Dahlhaus, p.I53-54.
lOAccording to William Drabkin, the term motive is "most often thought of in rnelodic terms,
and it is this aspect of motive that is connoted by the term figure." "Motive" in The New Grove
Dictionarv of Music and Musicians (London: MacMillan Press, 1981), p.648.
l'Alan Lessem, Music and Text in the Works of Arnold Schoenberg, (UMI Research Press,
1979). For Lessem's analysis of Erwartung, see pp.76-95.

'2Herbert Buchanan, "A Key to Schoenberg's Erwartung Op. 17," Journal of the American
Musicological Society 20 (1967), p.434-49.

30
structure and changing expressiveness of the work through their difference in each appearance. 1
have chosen one cell (identified by both Buchanan and Lessem) which seems particularly
prevalent in order to demonstmte Schoenberg's polyphonic technique. 1will first examine
several places where this cell recurs to discuss how it can be interpreted other than as a technique
which creates continuity.
Lessem's cells a' and a1which he calls 'motivic cells') correspond to what Buchanan
derives from the transitional material of Schoenberg's Op.6 no.6 song"Am Wegrand" which is,
of course, quoted in the fourth scene of Erwartung (1 will use cell a as an example for the
following discussion, simply calling it 'a').

6'11::. 1

~1~/;j"I"~'
Ji.. ~
,

c.el/' a.,'

Cell 'a', in Lessem's analysis, occurs at mm. 1-2 (oboe), mm.6-7 (oboe and hom), mm.l5-16
(voice), mm. 19-20 (bass and voice), and mm.24-26 (flutes). In the first scene, the linear
connections made from this cell stem fonu the initial measures of the work. This does not,
however, account for the sudden shifts in texture and in vertical/horizontal writing which later
include this pitch cell. By asserting that the opening measures contain "the opera's full motivic
substance"SJ Lessem implies that all material which follows derives solely from this cell and that

SJLessem, p.79.

31

the work is granted continuity by building systematically on il. For instance, Lessem's example
Il uses three occt:rrences ofcell 'a' (mm.6-7, mm.lS-16, mm. 19-20). 1would argue that, given
the reappearance of this ccli within extremely different textural contexts, (as weil as its
differences on a smaller level with each appearance) it can no longer be identified as a 'unifying'
factor. That this cell exists here is indisputable (the recurrence of these same pitches here is
certainly not coincidenta1); however, the different contexts of their appearances serves to obscure
their connections from view, thereby confusing our sense of continuity.

In mm.6-7, for example, cell 'a' occurs overlapping from the oboe to the horn (that is, d
and c# sound in the oboe, m.6, and b flat as the last note of the horn in m.7).

The significance of these two measures, however, goes beyond the mere presence of these three
pitches as heard in the oboe and horn. What is audibly perceptible here is not tbis cell, but rather
the spacing, shape, and rhythm of the two Hauptstimme voices wbich contain its pitches. Instead
of restricting the analysis of mm.6-7 to their pitch content, 1would suggest that the shape of the
oboe and horn !ines create a musical gesture wbich is not dependent on any specific pitches.
Measure 6 alone presents tbis gesture (marked 'sehr zan'), the vertical space of which is then

widened in the horn in m.7, while the basic shape and rhythm are retained. As both instruments

32
are designated 'Hauptstimme,' what we hear, rather than the pitches of 'a' divided among the two
voices, is an immediate repetition of a four-note gesture. In Ught of the Woman's text. the
gesture pennits a semantic interpretation: the tendemess of the oboe (over her words of fcar 'dic
Stamme schimmem...wic Birken!') seem~ to anticipate her ensuing words of wistful
remembrance ('oh unser Garten...'). Dahlhaus suggests that "one means of imposing unity on
sharp contrasts is to interlock the end of one section with the beginning of the next. ,,54 The
Woman's words in m.6 are the completion of her thoughts in the present tense; contrast ensues
with her sudden collapse into the past. The end of tbis sectiop. of text is interlocked with the
presentation of the tender instrumental gesture in both measures.
Similarly, 'a' appears at m.16 in the voice (see Ex.3 below). The presence of these

pitches occurs in a very different context here when compared with mm.6-7. however. since the
pitches d. c#, and a# all occur in the same part (the vocal li ne); the presence of these pitches is
aIso obscured by a rising figure in the viaUn, and by the onset of an ostinato in the harp and
celesta. The intervening pitches b and c# (on the word "frUher") also interrupt the immediate
completion of the cell.

N.. 110

de

fx,3

. ". r
;

T'

hi.M hl... ri

'"

.,

- '5 ;~,;, , ~ "'::'


.
der Xond 'Ou trillSor .0 hU
.
_ .... u::

'~)

I!H.

..
RI

Bach
oaSI'1i

I.1UJ1Io

/''k allll ... t der, l'''Mal, th'hl '.r Ih:8 '1.'

''''D. ,

S4Dahlhaus. p.152. Dahlhaus offers a similar musicalltexuai interpretation of mm.241-42.

33

Again, as suggested earlier, 1wouId submit thatthe vocalline in these measures is audibly
notable, not for the presence of these particular pitchcs, but for the shape of the line which
envelopes them. The contour of the voice part is comparable to the gestures heard in mm.6-7
(the accompanying violin line is also marked 'zart', creating a similar affect as heard in the earlier
measures), although the vertical space is in m.16 considerably narrowed. Also, aside from the
shape of the !ine, the pitch succession d-c#-b in m.16 repeats the pitches of the oboe in m.6.
When compared to mm.! 9-20, the exp!icitness of the cell is cast further into doubt. Here,
the voice sings two of its pitches (a# and c#); Lessem submits that the 'd'in the bass completes
the presence of the cell (it should also be noted, though, that the voice continues to an 'a' natural,
also completing the cell in itself). Perhaps more striking in this passage, however, are the various

linear figures which are clearly derived from the oboelhom !ines in mm.6-7. For instance, the
vocalline at mm. 19-20 is a variant of the oboe and horn figures, as is the solo viola figure
(contracted in time). Both contain an upward leap of a seventh, followed by a descent in thirds
(this descent is clear in the horn at n1."n.7-8).

Ex.lf

34

Also noteworthy is the momentary disguising of these lineur connections through a striking
change in the texture occurring at m.l9. The group of vertically construcied chords (m.l9 in the
strings) followed by sudden stillness in the orchestra momentarily draws ~lttention away from the
voice part (see EX.5 below). Here is an instance of the individuality among the various voiccs of
which Dahlhaus spoke, where heterogeneous processes are forced togethcr. Laborda notes thm
in m.l9, the polyphonic Hallptstimme in the violas is pulled into the vertical construction of
chords in the strings, creating a hannonic and rhythmic integration of horizontal and vertical
structures:
Die horizontale Dimension der Melodik in der Hauptstimme Hillt
sich in die Vertikale der Begleitung zur Bildung vieltoniger Kliinge
integrieren. Daraus resultiert eine hannonische Integration beider
Dimensionen. (The horizontal dimension of the music in the
'Hauptstimme' is integrated in the vertical construction of the
chords. From this results a hannonic integration of both
dimensions. 55

bX . .5

1Ja. IIIIr41. Gril 1...

lIlil i1H'1Il Li..

. bu. lied ..

~.I

4.,

U.l.O.....lI,t.I

SSLaborda. p.204.

35
The sudden presence of these chords, logether with the sudden cessation of motion in m.20 are
other means by which Schoenberg abandons convention, momentarily pulling attention away
from the horizontal connections. Ail else ceases to exist in the Woman's eerie moment of desire
('nicht sprechen...es ist so stiG bei dir').
My intent in examining these measures has been to show how the function of cell 'a' as a
unifying clement remains unclear: much of its importance lies in its ambiguity and malleability,
and ils ability, as Dahlhaus suggests, to convey dynamic and expressive contrast. Regarded in
isolated places, where changes in texture and instrumentation provide this contrast, the repetition
of specific pitches, as weil as less-defined gestures give strength to Adomo's argument that the
work exhibits no conti nuity or development.S6 On a locallevel, the cells do function

structuraIly, however their position within the larger structural framework is unclear. Continuity
ean therefore not be understood in the eonventional sense. If these cells are regarded only as
eonnecting threads, this ignores their differenee in expressive funetion, and the individuality of
instrumentallines.
1would like to further demonstrate, b)'

:~,,~ing

the opening pitehes of the voiee part, how

a motivic figure (composite of its contour and intervallic structure) can be more important as an
audibly unifying element than a pitch cell. The opening notes of the voice (c#-b-e) could be
regarded as the origin of a motive which becomes prevalent throughout the piece. Instead of
being defined as a recurring pitch cell, this motive (as partially traced in Ex.6) is defined by ils
contour and shape: largely composed of a descending minor third followed by an ascending

S~.W. Adorno, Philosophy of Modem Music, trans. A. Mitchell and W. Blornster. (New
York: Seabury, 1973), pA2.

36
minor second,

fx,G,

~M,

...

f>4., oj.,.
T

,."

~.

'"
~,;"

Hl'fI

~,l1. ta

,.-

->If

N,'t.J..t-

. '7

elA ....

Sr'f. .' ... u......

~M,1-!:'~M

"'"

IJ

I,.la
1\,

j.,J,. "'k':'et'...

~+~

1'\. ~l"

..

0('

11 ..-

l2

.J

Nw

14'"

)-l-.,.,. ....

The above example presents sorne of the more striking similarities of this vocal gesture in the
first two scenes. According to Lessem, it is pitch cell'a' (first seen in the oboe - c#-a#-d at
mm. 1-2) on which much of the work's pitch strucuter is built. It is questionable though. whether
the importance of 'a' lies in its pitch content or rather in the overall shape of the vocal gestures
which grow out of the vocal part. Instead of the domination of a single, identifiable motive, 1
believe there to be a complex of musical gestures. The pitches contained within these gestures
are perhaps less audibly memorable than their shape and contour, which become the points of

",,',l .. #t,,_ c.J1 ki(1 "",.;.~

_
r'\

;l,'(~

! ...

$0

/OJ

1
~.-

"'. z.'t ,...


{

...:

Wu? I,,~

...

,-

"'"

reference for the listener. Similar gestures to those found in Ex.6 appear aIso in instrumental

37
parts; their presen~e is often most striking and recognizable to the Iistener. though, in the voice.
1would argue thalthe frequent reappearance of the gesture as shown in Ex.6 calls into
question the status of 'a' as a pitch cciI. The importance of the gesture is furthered by a semantic
intcrpretation. At mm.3-4. we sense the Woman's confusion with the tentative question 'Hier
hinein'l'. As discussed earlier. the orchestra abandons its accompanimental function at the end of
m.19. in her reminiscence 'nicht sprechen. At mm.24 and 29. we again sense her loneliness and
frustration with the words 'so stirb doch hier' and 'ich allein.' This is not to suggest, however, that
this gesture can be consistently associated with dramatic meaning. On the contrary. its
expressive function in the second and tliird scenes changes radically, as l will now show.
By restricting his discussion to pitch cells. Lessem is able to connect these cells with

specific dramatic events. For example. he associate~ cell 'a' with the Woman's memories and
anticipation of love.~7 As suggested earlier, though, l would maintain that the intervals in this
cell are included within gestures audibly connected to the motive presented in Ex.6. Frequently,
the ordering of intervals changes (as seen in both examples 6 and 7); this grouping of intervais no
longer qualifies as ccll 'a.' Yet the intervais of the ccll in these examples become a component of
the motivic fabric. When the music is perceived in terms of motives defined by their contour,
mther than in terms of specific pitch ceUs, such a strict connection between music and text (as
made by Lessem) is no longer possible. Sorne of the most noticeable appeannces of the minorthirdlminor-sccond motive coincide with the Woman's expression of fear a.,d vulnerability in the
second and third scenes.

~7Lessem, p.78.

38

Here these gestures are disguised so as ta lose their original meaning. Most apparent is the sharp
contrast in register when compared ta the first scene. where they are confined mostly ta the
octave between middle c and c~ As shawn in the above example, the Woman's increasing fear
transfonns the gesture. moving it into higher registers and widening the intervals (for example, in
m.80 and m.l13, the minor 2nd hecomes a major 7th). The Woman's voice now extcnds
noticeably beyond any definitive range - her expression of rear cannot he contained within any
registral boundaries.
1 have chosen only a few of the instances when~ th~s gesture appears. mostly wilh the
shape of a descending minor third fol1owed by an aseending minor second. Because of the
perv'lSiveness c,: these interv..i~ ~which also exhibit rhythmic similarities) in the music, not only
do ~hey not signify texturai eVI~nts, but their stalUS as conventional motives (or specifie pitch

cells) is called into question. Adorno criticized the presence of such gestural repetition, saying

39
that "the music still draws inner form from the text, anel, in adapting itsclf to it, is foreed to repeat
eontinually the same gestures and configurations."58 Stenzl notes, h,Jwever, that these gestures,
while offering eontinuity on a mierostrueturallevel, arc foreed

togeth~r

with isolated, expressive

moments on a macrostructural level, thereby breaking musical continuity. We are forced to hear
these isolated points as moments where reference to order is always abandoned, and where
gestural repetition (and unity) thereby loses its meaning:
Wesentlieh ist es fUr dieses Werk, daB sieh intervallisehe
Kohilrenz, und damit Kontinuitllt einerseits, und motivisehthematisch-expressive Isolation, und damit Diskontinuitlit
andererseits, schroff entgegenstehen. [It is essential for this work
that its intervallic coherence (and with that, continuity on the one
hand) and motivic-thematic-expressive isolation (and with that,
discontinuity on the other) are abruptly opposed to each other).59

Although the gesture can be traced throughout these scenes, its changing expressive function is
what both alienates the Woman's voice and further stresses the disparity of different Iines. In this
way, the gesture never retains a stable meaning; ils changing expressions react to the dramatic
events. However, its presence as a gesture, rather than a strict ccII, gives it a flexibility which
evades any conventional function. Analyses which attempt to trace seemingly connected motives
throughout the work are based on the premise that conventional definitions are applicable in the
case of Erwartung. Such a premise is incorrect, however; Maegaard points out that "...to analyze
the development of one type of motif throughout the work would be an analysis without a point

58Adumo, Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber, (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1990), p.l63.

59Stenzl, p.70. my translation.

40

of reference...""o
This is not to say, howevcr, that certain collections of pilches do not prevail in Erwartung.
1have stressed the notion of the 'gesture' and overall contours of the individual voices for the
purpose of identifying the clements of the music which are more c1early perceived (and perhaps
more tangible) lo the Iistener. At the same time, the overriding importance of certain pitches
cannot be ignored (as demonstrated with the various examples of pilCh ccII 'a'). Lcssem,
however, tries to make the case for a hidden tonal structure in Erwartung, based on the recurring
pitch 'd'. And Mauser notes that many authors have placed Erwartung as a direct forerunner to
later works constructed with pitch-c1ass sets and to twelve-tone compositions."1 Such
discussions of the work, however, assume a compositional procedure which does not correspond

with either the subject matter of the drama or with Schoenberg's aesthetic outlook at this time.
For example, Anthony Payne writes (about Das Buch der hlingenden Garten, also composed in
1908-09) that "obsessional reviewing of a limited set of pitches is an ideal embodiment of the
imprisoned thoughts of Expressionism..."62 Schoenberg himselfstressed his desire 10 abandon
any predictable means of composition in this letter to Kandinsky from January 1911:
...every act of forming, every conscious forming plays in sorne way
with mathematics, or geometry, with the golden section and the

6OMaegaard, Jan, Studien zur Entwicklung des dodekaphonen Satzes bei Arnold Schonberg,
(Copenhagen: Wilhelm Hansen, 1972), p.318, as quoted and translated by Rosen, p.39.
61Siegfried Mauser, Das expressionistische Musiktheater der Wiener Schule (Regensburg:
Gustav Bosse, 1982), p.SI. One such example is Allen Forte's article, "Schoenberg's Creative
Evolution: The Path to Atonality" in Musical Ouarterly 64 (April 1978): 133-76, in which he
argues that Schoenberg was conscious of pitch-c1ass sets and their operations as early as the Op.6
songs.

62Anthony Payne, Arnold Schoenberg (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), p.29.

41
like. But the unconscious fonning, which sets the equivalent 'fonn
= form of appearance,' that aione really creates fonn; that alone
brings forth such models which are copied by the unoriginal to
eventually become 'fonnulas.' He however who has an ear for
himself, who is able to perceive and understand his own instincts,
...has no need for such crutches. 63
The constant and unpredictable changes of Erwartung's music, then, as dictated by instinct,
ensure that the compositional procedures themselves (Le. the various pitch sets) are given the
freedom to serve expressive purposes. The pitch cells provide coherence at one level, but are
malleable enough to play an expressive role through constant cha'lges in their physiognomy in a
variety of musical contexts. As Payne suggested, any frequent repetitions of pitch move beyond
the realm of the structural, and assume an obsessional, fixational, and unpredictable quality,

paralleled dramatically by the Woman's frenetic search.

The Dramatic Function of the Ostinati


In using gestures such as these continuously under different guises, Schoenberg has effectively

broken the convention of motivic unifonnity. Another way in which Schoenberg abandons
convention is through his treatment of ostinato figures. The ostinati have traditionally been
regarded as areas of stability (even in Erwartung); for example, Penney writes that "Schoenberg
exploits the 'cadential' possibilities of the ostinato to articulate divisions within the work. ,,64
Maegaard, in the summary of his analysis of Op.17 states a1so that "Szenenberglinge zum Teil
durch satztechnische Merkmale (statisches Ostinato) markiert." ["Passages into the scenes are

63Schonberg-Kandinsky: Briefe. Bilder und Dokumente einer auBergewohnIichen Bewegung,


cd. Jelena Hahl-Koch, (Salzburg/Wien, 1980), p.21, as quoted in Wickes, p.94.

64Penney, p.245.

42
marked partly through static ostinati"].6l
When seen in this light, the ostinati assume a stable function, a means of punctuating the
entries into different scenes. Their dramatic effect, however, is not one of stabilizlIlion; the
ostinati have an expressive function, especially in their frequent contrast with sections which are
less rhythmically stable. The juxtaposition of these elements -those of stasis and motion (the
latter residing in the rhythmic drive and more regular sense of pulse provided by the ostinuto)defies convention; the appearance of the ostinato as a stable feature is often subverted by ils
subsequent breakdown. The ability of the ostinato to evoke an atmosphere of fear ulso prevents
it from being merely a place of stability.
The first ostinato in m.9 presents the first instance of brief rhythmic drive and motion in

the work; its strong statement is suddenly dissolved in the ensuing measure - a similar situation
(as noted earlier) as in mm.16-l8, where the chords of m.l9 disappear into silence in mm.20-21.
Perhaps the most effective use of the ostinato occurs in between scenes. In the transition
to the second scene, an ostinato originates at m.30 where the c1arinet, contra-bassoon, harp, and
viola share the same abrupt, fragmented rhythmic figure. At the same time the Hauptstimme (A
c1arinet) (whose part here includes the 'a' cell with its original pitches d-c#-a#) and second violins
play a series of intertwining thirds. Il is perhaps somewhat ironie that, prior to the transition, the
Woman sings 'ich will singen...dann hrt er mich', with 'renewed courage' ('Mut fassend'). The
ostinato suggests an element of fear here with its insistent relletition and especially through the
figure (m.33) in the 2nd violin (pizzicato) and f1ute. This is perhaps one of the means mentioned
by Dahlhaus of interlocking sections; the fear initiated by the ostinato, which contradicts the

65Maegaard, p.454.

43

Woman's 'courageous' words, develops in the following scene into her spoken fear. This is
further emphasized in the brief cessation of orchestral motion in m.38; here the trompet plays a
variant of cell'a' (pianissimo), before the Woman's unexpected outbreak with a similarly shaped
gcsture at mAO (containing a minor, rather than a major third). This suggests a dramatic role for
this ccli: the quiet presentation in the trompet is overtaken and overshadowed by the vocaIline at
mm.38-39, which, aside from containing the pitches d-c#-a#, continues downward in minor
thirds, reminisccnt of the motive traced earlier in Ex.6.

~x.

8
II. Scene

(TI.hl D..hl, ....... Wor. hu, 41" B....... 51.1.."1 ..",Ortl)


(
("d" ddl, min mll d HiRdln,NrnbrtllftlU 1

(dllll.....' d.,. s..... )

Frll.u

IoldullO.b.d

"fo,7,.

l W"7IaU..o/.,]

Hlorlol . . . . . ~on,

14]l wiede r vfe1 raseher

rit. . . . wfeder etwa.s langsllmer


o
~,

HlIl,"O _

00111

IC!lIP

ft

(Do".lm ftl

['Gge.

II.O~.

rdi.tJAQ ''1't'tu.

H":

Br.

,,,,

',.,tl.,.

-.

1.

JT

In the transition to the third scene, another ostinato takes over, climaxing with the

Woman's false discovery of a body ('ein Korper...nein, Nur ein Stamm'), before aIso dissolving.
The Woman experiences an instant of musical solitude as she sings 'da kommt ein Licht' over
sustained pitches in m.90; the fear and anticipation of trus approaching light (Schoenberg's

instructions here are 'wieder halb angstlich') are captured one measure later (m.91) by the eerie

44
harp ostinato. Her words oscillate between fright and selfreassurance ('ach! Nur der Mond..wie
gut..Dort tanzt etwas Sehwarzes'). This demonstrales anolher means by which the ostinulo is
destabilized; a moment of seeming musicul clarity (the ostinuto) contrasls with the ambiguily of
the text, reflecting the Woman's fluctuating states of mind. The sudden cessation of the ostinuto
in m.96 coincides with her reulizution that she sees only shudows, before she lupses into
reminiscences. As her feur rises uguin, u more intense ostinato (as it is doubled in the first violin
and cella Hallptstimme) sets in (m. 106), and climuxes with her exclumalion of fear ('Kein
Tier...').
Schoenberg generates tension with these ostinati in their graduai texturul thickening, und
also through changes in rhythmic value. For example, the sixteenthnote harp ostinulo in mm.91-

S ereates the secondary voice (Nebenstimme), while the ostinato in the strings ut m.106 forms the
Hallptstimme and moves in ascending-descending thirty-second notes. The entire string section

and the clarinets reinforce and extend the ostinuto at the climax (m. 111). Yet this obvious
increase in tension coincides with a truly illusory image for the Woman, for she is unable lU
identify what she sees. It is somewhat paradoxical that the most dense section in the music (for
the ostinato unifies many of the orchestral voices here) coincides with moments of the Woman's
total breakdown, when she can no longer distinguish between reality and illusion. By using the
ostinato, a technique to which the listener immediately relates, in these illusory moments, the
meaning of the ostinato becomes as unclear - and obsessional- as the Woman's thoughts. It
provides on the one hand a sense of momentary stability, or rhythmic drive, but on the other,
loses its sense of direction and pulse by inexplicably either breaking off or dwindling away. The

ostinati are cut off at crucial moments, as is the case in m.1 12. At this point the Woman,

45
abandoncd by the orchestra, expresses her fear ('ieh habe solche Angst'); the absence of the
ostinato is emphasized in the descending glissandi of the cellos, Danuser submits that with her
first utlerance of the word 'fear,' (m.112) this emotion becomes a permanent state in the work,
indicated by the revived ostinato in m.113.
Bei der Verwandlung von der ritten zur vierten Szene (T.l14f.),
unmittelbar nachdem die "Frau" zum ersten Mal das Wort "Angst"
ausgesprochen hat, erhebt ein Wechsel der Kompositionsmittel die
Angst auf eine hohere Stufe...erst jetzt kann Angst zur Dauer
werden. [In the transition from the third to the fourth scene
(m.l14t), immediately after the Woman speaks the word 'fear'
alcJUd for the first time, a change in the orchestral accompaniment
lifts the fear onto a higher level...only now can fear become
permanent).66
This permanency of fear arises out of the heavy orchestral ostinato from m.114 and

following; Schoenberg emphasizes its abruptness at mm.118-19 with his directions for the strings
to get softer ('nehmen sie rasch ab'), before ail voices trickle away ('verrinnend') towards the end
of the scene. Perhaps part of the 'change in orchestral accompaniment' of the fourth scene to
which Danuser refers is in the increasing use of ostinato figures which, in their frequent
altemation with Jess rhythmically stable sections, serve to intensify the Woman's fear.
The ensuing ostinato at m.151 presents a musical situation analogous to that of m.lll. In
the former, the ostinato builds in the orchestra, but cuts off abruptly after the Woman's vocal
climax (m.112 corresponds in this way to m.154); the shock of both moments seerns to drive the
Woman into silence, before the ostinato resumes (m.113) and then builds up further in m.155.
The fact that the musical climax at m.l50 and following recalls that of the previous scene (in

66Herrnann Danuser, Musikalische Prosa, (Regensburg: Gustav Bosse, 1975), p.135-36, my


translation.

46
terms of dramatic events) further calls into question the 'truthfulness' of the Woman's findings.
Again, fear becomes manifest with the increased intensity of the ostinato in Scene 4 lInd with the
sudden chllnge in texture at m.159, followed by another, eerily quiet ostinllto (in the flutes.
lIccomplinied by li pedal in the ce1estll. mm. 160-64, marked pianissimo and triple pianissilIIo
respectively); yet the body's presence is never mllde explicit. 67 The Woman's text after the
1engthy, climactic ostinato also seems to deny the body its existence; in her confusion she sllYs
'da ist der schreckliche KopLdas Gespenst...wenn es nur cndlich verschwlinde...' (lhcre is the
dreadfu1 head..the ghost..lf it would only disappear at last). The ambiguity of the situation is
further compounded by her words 'Es zergeht sicher..wie das im Wald' (surely it will
disappear..like that in the forest), as she refers to her mistaken identification of the body in the

previous scene. The important difference in the musical setting, however, is that at m.16B there
is no ostinato, and thus nothing to dissolve; her expectations of encountering her lover (or his
body) are again thwarted. This moment is also accompanied by a descending glissalldo in the
ceno (c#-d - Hallptstimme) which is reminiscent of the glissalldo (d-c# at m.112) after the
dissolutior of the ostinato.

67Schoenberg's stage directions add to the ambiguity of the situation; the presence of a body
remains unclear as he writes only 'stosst mit dem Fuss an etwas' [strikes with her foot against
something] at m.145. This 'something' becomes the body for the Woman, however, the fact that
there is no physicai body onstage of course succeeds in making the viewer question whether it is
meant to he there, or only in the Woman's mind.

47

Gx.;

1.2. 3. gr. Ft 1

DX]ar.

t-111'\ .111-

,01 ..,~./(,~

1.k1. FI.

il..

1JOar.(B)

'''". --".

1.

BII!Xlar.(B1

. ...

I.F"..
1. Hr.(F)

~.= ,
,

..

", _ _ _ J

""

Dpr.

r"

B...

Dpr.

Hr!.

..Ii

Talll~.

Frau
II.Oge.
Ill. Dpr.

Br.

'JJ,.

mohl hJ",WI..NlohI4~~hollloft... Eo ....;u.l Ikher"l

,-

IlI.Dpr.

"

Vell.

llI.Dpr.

.11. v.. ,~ Slt

.,trI/1I1.

Xtrbll.
"\

tr-,;:..;.: ~1:
.

The Woman continues in confusion, shedding further doubt on the existence of the body:
'ich muss ihn finden...es ist nicht mehr da..Ich wusste..'. This passage again parallels that at
m.125 where, after the cessation of the ostinato from m.113-23, she realizes it was 'not the body
with the words 'er ist auch nicht da.' In the ensuio.g measures, however, the ostinato in the harp
again assumes an exp~ssive purpose, building up fear. with the oboes repeating the same
rhythmic interjections in m.175-76 (not an ostinato here) as heard in the flutes at m.161-63. Here
bis physical presence becomes real for the f!!st time ('Es ist noch da..Es ist lebendig..Es hat
Haut..Augen..Haar'). The climactic high register in the voice and the slowing of the overall
rhythm after the abrupt stop of the thirty-second note ostinato are both strong musical indicators
of her recognition of the body.

48

tx. (0
Rrt.

Xyl.

Fra.ll

111"
Itl

..or

t'rIt,

r.

...

,.- ,.. ,.-.

"'!
y.

... ...
;.

-y

~-.
"~.l

.1.

Du

nuMun4.

du

~~ ~e~

~~
LOge.
!lpr.

D.Gge.
"Dpr.

. Br.
"Dpr.

II"

.....

r
IlIl

1..

-. .:111
<If

1.,
I=-~

li"

To this point the ostinati have reflected her fear as weil as prevented her (and the Iistener) from

deciding if there really is a body (or at least if this is what she really sees). The more
conventional, consistent orchestral accompaniment from m.l?? (see above example) allows the
Woman to finally become convinced of her lover's presence. The 'realness' of the moment is
further marked by her words; from m.l?3, the body remains an object which she fears but does
not yet recognize; her speech towards the abject is at first detached ('es ist noch da..es ist
lebendig..es hat augen'), until, in her graduaI recognition, 't' becornes 'him' ('seine Augen..seinen
Mund. Du..du').
It is significant that at this moment (m.l??) the aceompaniment is a slower sixteenth-note
pattern (from thirty-second notes in the prevous measure) and that il no longer possesses the
same sort of insistent, continuous drive. Instead. the interjections are more fragmented and the
pitches are altered - it does not have the same harmonie consistency of the previous ostinati. In

....

the earlier climactic points, the abrupt end of the ostinati left the Woman's voice exposed in a

"

_~h

~~
1

49
high rcgister (cg. m.112 and m.154); with hs cessation at m.iSO (before the viola begins another
pulsating figure at m.ISI) the Woman's Hne descends, reversing the intervals from the previous
cHmaxes, and bringing her voice into a less extreme range. Her text here aIso indicates that she
has finally connected in her rnind the abstract 'object' (it) with her lover: 'Du_du_bist du
es...ich habe dich so Jang gesueht.'

As generators of fear, it might aIso be suggested that the ostinati (similar to the repetitive
pitches as discussed earHer) net as symbols of the Woman's fixation on her lover - an idea carried
further by Berg in Wozzeck. 68 But whether representative of obsession or creators of illusion (or
perhaps both), Schoenberg's use of ostinati serve at once to generate and dissolve tension.
Rosen notes that
By their contrast with the ostinato, the sections with no repeating
figures can give an impression...of almost complete calm, a sense

68 As Douglas Jarman notes in The Music of Alban Berg (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), p.
163, the main rhythmic figure which appears after the murder scene becomes a symbol of
Marie's murder: "Its obsessive repetition represents Wozzeck's memory of the crime."

50

of c1ear resolution after the tension of the ostinato."


Rather than a sense of resolution. though. 1wouId argue thatthe lack of pulse IInd feeling of
motionlessness following many of the ostinati create Il sense of disintegration. of brcllkdown tension dissolved, rather than resolved.

Scene IV and the Encounter with Death


The Expressionist aesthetic: music's expression of the inner self
The notion of moving beyond musical representation stems somewhat from the Expressionist
artists' altitude towards music as an intangible, abstract mode of communication, one which is
incapable of signifying anything concrete. One finds this aesthetic view in the writings of such

artists/critics as Bekker, Kandinsky, and Adorno. The common thread running through thcir
texts is the emphasis on music as an abstract, non-represcntational art; as Hailey writes. "Bckker
feltthat music's avant-garde, by speaking again in terms of music and not ideas, could wean
Iisteners from their over-intellectualised need to understand music and teach them once again
how to hear and fcel it naively."70 With a similar intent, Kandinsky looked to music as a model
for painting, since music stands free from any inherent signification of meaning:
...music has been the art which has devoted itself...to the
expression of the artist's soul and to the creation of an autonomous
Iife of musical sound...A painter who finds no satisfaction in mere
representation...in his desire to express his inner Iife, cannot but
envy the ease with which music, the most nonmaterial of today's

69Rosen, pA7.

7oChristopher Hailey, "Musical Expressionism: the Search for Autonomy," in Expressionism


Reassessc:d. e. Behr, Fanning, et al. (Manchester University Press, 1993), p.106-7.

SI

art forms, achicves Ihis end. 71


Hailey goes on 10 argue thatlhe paradox of Expressionism arises through the factthatthe desire
for the spiritual over the material must be achieved through concrete, or material means. 72
Despile Ihis puradox, however, much of Schoenberg's success with Erwartung lies in his
deliberate breakdown of conventional constructs (as demonstrated in the previous section),
thereby seeming to move uway from the malerial. 73 This conceptualization of music as
inherently abslracl also permils Adorno 10 comment that Ihe Woman in Erwartung
is consigned 10 music in the very same way as a patient is to
analysis. The admission of hatred and desire, jealousy and
forgiveness, and - beyond allthis - the entire syrnbolism of the
unconscious is wrung from her... 74

These comments suggeslthat Schoenberg's music reacts to the Woman's experience, almost
existing on a leveI of its own. and therefore goes beyond simply heightening the effect of the
words. Erwartun..g's subject matter is wonderfully suited to this Expressionist aesthetic: the
unconscious mind, as something abstract and intangible, deems itself as 'unrepresentable' and
undefinable as music.
ln Ihe following section, 1would like to discuss the rneans used by Schoenberg to create
this effective, instinctual musical language, focussing on several specific moments in the fourth

71Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, trans. F.Golffing et al. (New York:
George Willenborn, 1947), p.24.
72Hailey, p.109.

73Schoenberg's own artistic aesthetic. (as quoted previously in this paper, p.37) also opposes
materialism: he argues that any constructs which arise in bis music do so through instinctive,
unconscious. and not material needs.
74Adorno. Philosophy, p.42.

52
scene. A brief look atthe symbolic importance of the dramutic events which give rise to thesc
musicul 'climaxes' is first ncccssury in order to draw certuin purallcls bctwccn thc tcxt und music.

The Encounter with Death


The first atonal works of Schoenberg arc described by Adorno us ";:usc studics in thc
scnse of psychoanalytic dream case studies. "7l The text of Erwartung. as discussed prcviously,
can also be regarded as a product of this particular historical momcnt, when artistic und scicnti fic
imerests, ir.:: :ated in part by Freud's research, focuGsed oftcn on the role of the unconscious
mind.76 Other typical Expressionist modes of communication, as mentioned in the previous
chapter, include the de;)iction of dream-states, the use of stream-of-consciousness writing, and an

IJverall concem with the ,dil.'nation and co~fusion of the individual. Erwartung provides an
excellent example of such interests in its literary and musical portrayal of dcath and femlile
hysteria. Perhaps most interestir.g b !I}e fourth scene are the moments where the Woman not
only discovers her lover, but also wren other references to death, and even her own death, appear
in th'l text.
Robert Detweiler notes that texls which deal with a character's death are dealing with a

7lIbid., p.39.

76Lewis Wickes argues convincingly that a general awareness of Freud's theorics (even if only
through his associates, such as Max Graf) existed among the artisls in Schoenberg's circle. As
noted earlier, for example. Schnitzler and Freud corresponded and read each other's work. Of the
plays of Werfel and Hasenclever. and the poetry of Heym, Henry Lea notes in Expressionism as
an International Literary Phenomenon, p.147, that "a Freudian atmosphere hovers over these
strangely ambivalent works."

53
moment of radieal instability, "touching thc boundaries of being and non-bcing.,m Atthis
moment, the author dcstroys the conscious world of a living being; in the case of Erwartung. this
destruction of consciousness is relayed through the eyes of the Woman. The traumatic effect of
finding her lover's body forces the Woman to face her supposed repressed memory, but more
Ihan this. the unexpecled confrontation with death in effect distorts her own sense of self
consciousness - she begins now 10 hallucinate more wildly, and even more importantly. tries in
vain to revive her lover ("Wach doch auf...nur nichttot sein...") before finally succumbing to the
certainty of his death. Such instanees are crucial as they indicate a sort of breakdown of the
woman's consciousness. and thus an erasure of the borders between her conscious and
unconscious sides. Kristeva speaks of the encounter with a corpse as something which is 'abject:'

...corpses show me what 1permanently thrust aside in art'- ,


live... The corpse...is death infecting life...It is somethinr r. ;J
from which one does not part, from which one does not pl~,ect
oneself as from an object. Imaginary uncanniness and realthreat, it
beckons to us and ends up engulfing us. 7
ln Erwartung. then. the act of discovering the body effectively causes the Woman to lose control
of her own senses, and we can sense in her hysteria that she is 'engulfed' by this unconscious,
other side. After his death is certain in her mind, the border between her conscious and
unconscious collapses as she !lirts with the notion of her own death (indicated in her lines "Ich
will es kssen...mit dem letzten Atem" [I want to kiss it...with my last breath] and "Nun kB ich
mich an dir zu Tode" [Now in kissing you 1kiss myself to death]). Stenzl notes that with this

nRobert Dctweiler, "The Moment ofDcath in Modem Fiction," Contemporary Literature 13/3
(Summer 1972), p.269.
7Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: Essays on Abjection (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1988), p.3-4.

54
final scene the Woman experienees an 'apocalypse of love', or love at its Ulmosl intensity.
Calling Erwarlung a drama of 'breakdown,' [Zusammenbruchl. he states more specificlllly llmt
wilh the confrontation of the body "...die Frau erfahrl diese Wuhrheit uls Dissoziulion des
Individuums..." [the Womun experiences this truth us the dissociution of the individuall. 7
The moments of the Womun's crises. then. crystallize both musicully und drumuticully
around the body. Adorno's brief remarks on the 'symbolism of her unconscious' indicate his
recognition of this notion of rupture in Erwartung's Womun - but he goes further lhun uny other
writer on the subject of this piece by pointing out specifically those momenls where such
ruptures occur. How. then. does Schoenberg relate these textual events to his music? The ideas
of Adorno offer much insight into this question; 1will use his comments as a means of opening

the musical discussion of the fourth scene.

Schoenberg's 'Revolution of Expression:' music in Scene IV


In his discussion of Schoenberg's Expressionist period, Adorno lays out a dialectical relationship

between the universal and particular levels on which. according to him. music operates.
Conventional interpretations of musical materials and forms exisl on a universal, or general,
level; on the particular level, these materials are broken down, deconstructed. thereby redefining
the universallevel in terms of the particular. Adorno writes that
[Schoenberg's] music officially denies the daim that the universal
and the speeific have been reconciled. Regardless of the
indebtedness of the music in its origins to parallel principles
exhibited in nature, and regardless of the similarity of its formai
irregularities to organic forms - in no way does it present an

79Stenzl, p.68, my translation.

55
organic totality.Ho
ln Adorno's vicw, Schocnberg's music is successful because of the tension between universal and
specific, and the resulting deslruction of convention. 'Truth' in music is achieved through the
connict between the disinlegration of musical material and the need for formaI coherence: "...the
'form' of the inlegrated work, to be 'authentic' (that is, lrue to the demands of its material), must
now incorporate its apparent opposite - disinlegration, fragmentation, chaos,"81 When referring
10 Erwartung (and more specifically, to Schoenberg's self-quotation from "Am Wegrand"),

Adorno speaks of a dialeclic of loneliness, where the extreme inwardness and solitude of the
subject are alienaled by being externalized and objectified. Paddison aptly summarizes Adorno's
words:

Schoenberg's music makes concrete the a1ienation of the Subject


through its determination to preserve the Subject by extending its
control to every corner of the material. At the same time, however,
it is a dead end: total stasis...the expression of suffering becomes
frozen and timeless."82
The illea of expression through stasis carries over into the musical language, given voice through
the Woman's various reactions to the body.
Adorno's remark (as cited earlier) about the 'woman being consigned to music as a patient
to analysis' is interesling in the context of musical events surrounding her discovery of the body.
A lengthy ostinalo precedes the fourth scene, and the accompaniment from m.124 becomes
strangely stallc, allowing the Woman to continue her monologue. Sustained pitehes ensue,

80Adorno, Philosophy. pAO.

81Max Paddison, Adomo's Aesthetics of Music, (Cambridge University Press, 1993), p.275.
82Ibid.. p.267.

56

giving way to short, abrupt figurations (the first occurring in m.133, lst violin), followed by
more frequent articulations of chords from m.132 in the strings. Gradually, these violent
figurations become more prevalent, and also begin to resemble short ostinato-type figures with
their repetitive rhythm (for example, see the oscillations of the bass clarinet and bassoons at
mm.l43-44, and the 2nd and 3rd clarinets at m.148). These instances prepare for the ostinato
which accompanies the Woman's recognition of the body: what is interesting about the material
leading up to this moment is the shape of the phrases of the instruments and the voice. Both
retain an overall downward motion from the beginning of the scene: as a consistent gesture this
seems to suggest an ~,lement of control, especially in the voice. almost as though trying to
swallow her fear in the face of the inevitable (see Ex.12 below).

~~9Enoi#~~~t,,~s~"<l-~)E, ~~~~~~~~~~~
jI\.

13(,

~. ~"'
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1

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!jt C "

1,J,. L-. .... <.lA.


Severa! times. this control threatens to slip out of the Woman's grasp (for example. at m.141. as
she moves into a higher range. compared to her previous pitches. and at m.lsO. again as her lines
suddenly ascend): in each case, she manages to regain 'control', despite the surrounding agitated

instrumental figures. It is interesting that these instrumental figures seem to strengthen or

tuye

.. f<,.c

57
become more prominent in moments where the Woman begins to doubt herself, for instance at
m.143 and m.151. In the laller example, the sudden upward motion of the winds seem to drive
her onward, despite her words "/ch kann nicht." Later, at m.153, her line finally ascends, in
startling contrast to allthat has pl'eviously occurrcd, breaking the consistency of the downwardmoving lines, and also suggesting her ultimate loss of control (see Ex.13). The silence which
follows this dramatic climax (m.158) ilIustrates one of those moments of 'stasis' which prompted
Adorno's often-cited remark that
Musical language is polarized according to its extremes: towards
gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand,
and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being
whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks. 83
A similar, but more extreme, instance is found at mm.215-16; at this point the Woman

has broken out her reminiscences of the past, and begins to recallthe presence of death ("Was
soli ich nun tun, daB el' jetzt aufwacht?" [What should 1do so that he awakes now?] and "Deine
liebe Hand...so kalt?" [Your loving hand...so cold]). (Hel' slow realization is also indicaled in the
librello; shortly after this moment (at m.233) Pappenheim wrote "sieht ihn an, erwachend" [She
looks at him, beginning to realize]). This leads to an extended section (up to m.270) of increased
desperation, as it occurs largely in the 'present'- as opposed to her recollections of the past in the
prior section. Here, that very immediacy of the moment is captured in the inexorable rhythmic
drive of various instrumental figurations. There is literally no l'est from these rhythmically
forceful, repctilive figures, which very frequently (at times with each new measure) change
instrumentation and pitches (see Ex.14).

83 Adorno,

Philosophy, pA2.

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The 'conversation' with her lover occurs at times:lS though he were alive. The ostinati here
bccome eerie reminders of their tirst appearances in the earlier scenes. where they suggested fear
without being supported by any concrete dramatic event. At the same time. because the past use
of ostinati is recalled. thcir appearance here seems to indicate sorne sort of buildup towards
greater shock for the Woman (and listener).
The release from this instrumental build-up cornes at m.269 - a key moment. both
rnusically and dramatically. Adorno writes of these moments as revolutionary, because of the

formai innovations which accompany them:

59
The actual rcvolutionary moment for [Schoenberg) is the change in
function of musical expression...The scars of this revolution of
expression, however, are the blotches which have become fixed in
his music as well as in his pictures, as the he..alds of the id against
the compositional will."
He then goes on to footnote, almost arbitrarily, mm.1 0, 269, and 382 as "examples of such
blotches."84 Similar to the moment of her discovery of the body, we can speak here of an
instance of psychological rupture for the Woman: her words indicate the loss of self-identity and
consciousness which occur with her sudden awareness of death: "Nun kl3 ich mich an dir zu
Tode." Musically, the impact of the chord at m.269 virtually obliterates allthe material
preceeding il. (This moment is also connected musically and textually to m.263; atthis point,
sustained pitches in the hom, c1arinets, English hom, cellos and basses accompany the words

"Ich will es kssen mit dem letzten Atem..", the first moment of complete musical stillness after
the long passage of incessant motion). This stasis is exaggerated further at mm.269-70; its
dramatic power almost overrides that of her initial discovery of the body because the cessation of
motion is so lengthy (sustained pitches prevail in the texture from mm.263-72).
A similar climactic moment occurs earlier at m.154 (in that there is a dynamic and
instrumental build-up, leading to a sudden held chord). Lessem notes that the same 'augmented
tri ad' is heard here (specifically, he isolates the pitches B-D-F#-A# at m.154 and G-B-D# at

84Ibid., p.39. Adorno in fact criticizes these 'blotches' (Le. moments of climax or crisis in the
music) as being traces of a compositional process which is more 'conscious' and calculated, as
opposed to more instincitive composition Ccompositional will') which negates accepted musical
convention (the latter point being an aspect of Schoenberg's composition admired by Adorno). In
this way, Adorno sees the moments which he cites as breakdowns in Schoenberg's 'destructive:
instinctive compositional process.

60
m.269).'1 While these two moments have audible similarities. 1believe it is not beeause of their
piteh content, but rather because of texturaI and dynamic similarities. The measures preceding
and following m.154 retain a certain uniformity: each section uf instruments play similar
figurations, and the full orchestra builds dynamically towards the fortissimo at m.l54. The most
prominent pitches of this measure, B-O-F# (with a high, prominent C# in the flutes) are
presented in a single blow (refer again to Ex.13).
ln contrast, the climax at m.269 is approached and 'resolved' very differently. As
mentioned above, sustained chords set in already at m.263, slowing the overall motion and
creating a more static texture; various individual, linear figurations also sound (for example in
the trumpet and violin at m.267), as opposed to the repeated rhythmic figures which precede

m.154. There are also subtle texturai shifts, as various instruments exchange pitches between
mm.267-70. At m.269, the texture is considerably more dense and filled in; the pitches G-B-O#
sound, but are only part of an aggregate of seven other pitches. The range used at this point is
also narrower and less extreme, thus making it more difficult to distinguish pitches (see Ex.l5).
The 'revolution of expression' lies, 1believe, in Sehoenberg's ability to use similar deviees (i.e.
dissolving the orchestral motion into 'nothingness') at different points without falling into a
clearly repetitive pattern. These moments of stasis stand out with each subsequent appearance
without ever imitating each other.
The final place cited by Adorno (m.382) is perhaps a less obvious example of such
dranmtic power. At 01.380 we experience a decrease in rhythmic activity (comparable to that
heard al m.263); this leads to absolute stillness again at m.382. This presents another of the

KSLessem, p.88.

fx. (5
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61
'interlocking' scctions of which Dahlhaus spoke; in this case, the cessation of motion, followed
by a more rhythmically active section (mm.385-88), on a larger level parallels the two previous
examples in that they signify moments of profound realization for the Woman - the first in her
discovery of the body, the other in her realization of and desire for her own death. M.382 is yet
another endpoint for her thoughts; the lengthy 'dialogue' with her lover is framed by her words of
comfor! and resignation: "..dein Mitleid machte mich glcklich...Ich glaubte...war im Glck." ln
the ensuing final section of the work, her words indicate a renewed awareness of her
surroundings ('Liebster..der Morgen kommt') and also of the boundaries of her own self ('denn
meine Grenze war der Ort, an dem du warst'), and a complete break with the events of the pas!.
The music at m.382 presents us with the sustained pitches heard in the two previous

examples - the last instance of such stillness in the piece (the common pitches sounding at
mm.269 and 382 are: f, f#, b, c#, d#, d (voice), a#, c, and g). Lessem views the presence of the
pitch 'd' in m.383 (contra-bassoon) as a sort of 'tonal' resolution. 86 He overlooks the 'c#' (cello)
which also sounds against the 'd'in the same measure; 1would argue, therefore, that tbis is not a
resolution, but a return, or reiteration of 'd'and 'c#' (perhaps the most prominent pitcbes in the
work, as discussed previously). In this way, mm.383-4 is a means of c10sing this section by
grounding the final sustained chord with these pitches, as tbey both occur in bass voices (by
comparison, in m. 154, d and c# are heard in a high register, and at m.269, only the c# appears in
the bass - although not ~ the lowest voice in the texture - and the low d in the third clarine!. The
importance of these pitcbes at m.383 is at the same lime a means of opening the last seclion of
the work, where these pitches allain yet a new significance, as 1will now discuss.

86Ibid., p.92.

62
In the final section (m.389 to the end), 'd'and 'c#' arc sung by the Woman most noticcably
on the repeated word 'Grenze', when she speaks of the borderless nature of her wandering
thoughts, and of the border of her self as defined by the dead body (mm.395 und 397). ('D'und
'e#' ure also featured ut the beginning of op.6 no.6, und form registrul boundaries in that song as
well). These pitches are stressed again at mA03 as they occur on the word 'Nacht', immediately
followed by a brief silence. Schoenberg's self-quotati"n of the Op.6, no.6 song"Am Wegrund"
(which was first discussed by Adorno) acts almost iike a hidden reference to the Wom:m's
alienation; as Adorno suggests, "the Expressionist reveals loneliness as universal."'7 Both
Buchanan and Lessem again make the case for a hidden tonal reference through this quotation;
Buchanan states "That tonal material from "Am Wegrand" appears in Erwartung without

disturbance to the stylistic consistency of the work suggests that Erwartung is more tonal than
heretofore believed..... In an article about the notion of 'das Unheimliche' in music, Michael
Cherlin counter-argues that "Schoenberg undennines tonality as quickly a~ it begins to rise to the
surface." He goes on to state that the feeling of the uncanny arises in this passage because, (and
here he quotes Joseph Schelling from Freud's essay on the subject): .....it ought to have
remained...hidden and secret and has become visible...8. More than this, however, the passage
does create an aura of the uncanny because for one moment, Schoenberg's earlier compositional
voice emerges, and, as Adorno notes, "the quotation represents authority." He later argues that

'7Adorno, Philosophy, p.47.


"Buchanan, p.434.

8'Michael Cherlin, "Schoenberg and Das Unheimliche: Spectres of Tonality," Journal of


Musicology 1113 (Summer 1993), p.362.

63
even the "geslures of shock" in Erwartung become somewhal formulaic. since "as soon as lhey
have made their lirst reuppeanmce - [they] give contour to the form which encompasses
them..."'" 1would submit. though. thatlhe quotation from "Am Wegrand" subjects the listener to
anolher 'geslure of shock'. or breakthrough unlike those previously discussed. since here
Schoenberg openly aligns himsclf with the lonely position of Erwartung's protagonist.
Schoenberg's self-reference ulso creutes a moment of breakthrough by infusing Erwartung's text.
which to this point 'belonged' to the Woman, with another layer (,f meaning in light of the text of
"Am Wegrand." For example. the lastline of the Op.6. no.6 song 'My tired eyes close' suggests a
certain resignation. withdrawal, or surrcnder, an inability to carry on - not dissimilar to
Erwartung's ending, where the Woman is also unuble to lind what she seeks ('Ich suchte...').

Schoenberg here subjectively communicates his own position and thus authority, not only that of
the Woman. In this way too, the music is again not permitted to fall inta a pattern; the sudden
contmsts between motion and stasis no longer play a role in this linal, /luid section. Instead,
Schoenberg creates another instance of breakthrough with this reference to the self. Musically,
we hear this through the suddelllyricism of the sung line (compared to the more abrupt,
rccitative-like style from m.410). As Cherlin noted, any 'tonal' reference (for the section
containing lhe quolation does rcfer to 'D'as a C';ntral pilCh) is ullim~.tely denied us, for the work
drifts off with a completely ungrounded chromatic passage. The end of Erwartung literally fades
out - thcre is seemingly no end. only a rush of ascending and descending motion which is
suddenly severcd.
ln terms of musical structure, the music around the quotation certainly lixates on certain

""Adorno, Philosophy, p.48-9.

64

pitchcs, bll! n{:i solcly, as othcrs hav.: suggcstcd, as a mcalts of refcrring to lonality. Instcud, it
secms the rcpctitiOl' of pitches (again, cspccially of 'd'and 'c#') rc-contcxtualizcs the carHer
rcliance on these pitchcs in terms of the quotation. Aside l'rom the moment of direct quotation,
the oscillation of the vocalist around c#-d-d# gives the sung tine a similar contour to tlmt round
in moments of "Am Wegrand," wherc therc is much chromatic motion around 'd' - in Erwnrlung
suggesting. but never confirming il as a central pitch (see Ex.16),

.~ !f=-/11.

Yor.~1-

.
jA"".

L
1

S-c,

-l'"

-';;'

q'

",.. ClIO

1/'

"

-r

,.

' -.+"

1""''''. 2Z.-'

"

.,.

. t'R.'" 12

1,/'1\ 11'\,

...

..

...

' #+

/'ft.'t"-"

al

"

lf"

.".,

If'

, ...

r.". ;
1

t+

-r

11+..,;1-""

1~.

...

2.'t - S

riOJ'O)

,.

,.

1
/TL
1

.-

,
1

-y,..-l

.
+ -

It is aIso significant that there is no feeling of grounding in this final section - constant motion

among the various voices prevails. The brier referer.cc ta 'd'as a stabilizing pitch at mAli (as

heard in the bass and bassoons) is obst:ured by the contrdry motion of the different 'Haupt~limme'

65

parts - the ascending bassoon line againstthe ehromatically descending winds.

Erwartunl!, then, is charaeterized in part by several iIIustrative moments which give rise
to these 'gestures of shock.' Despite the similarity in their effect, eaeh of th"~e moments retains,
citl1er through changing orchestration and texture, its own specifie funetion whieh separates it
from other moments preceding and following. (On a more local level, certain, often enigmatie
connections exist; their role as signifying clements can always be called into question, however,
when placed in the context of the work's overall 'structure'). The result is a musical experienee in
whieh temporal conti nuity is completely disrupted; musical shifts (especially in terms of motion
verses stasis) oceur as frequently as the Woman's psyehologieal shifts from seeming calm to

hysteria, past to present, and reality to illusion. We thus experienee a series of instances which
arc placed in the foreground an abrupt passage from one 'climax' to the next, with no sense of
telcological dlwelopment. This was undoubtedly a revolutionary musical and theatrical
expericncc for the Iistener of Schoenberg's time; as Payne notes, "...a musical illusion is created
of presenting in an imlant of time the experience which previous ages had seen as an unfolding
process."'" This thought cchoes Schoenberg's own intentions about how Erwartung would he
perceived, since he wrote about the work as a "slow-motion representation of a single second of
maximum spiritual stress..."z
The notion of musical time, then, is of course very much connected to the disjointed
mann..r in which .Erwartung's Woman experiences time. Douglas Jarman, writing about the

'Payne, p.29.
.zMalcolm MacDonald, Schoenberg (London: J.M. Dent and Sons, 1976), p.184.

66
difficulty of comprchending the work. stutes thut "Schoenberg evidenlly fcltthut [Erwurtllng 1.
with ils sense of continuous impiovisution. wus un lInrcpeulllb\e experiment. From now on
conventionu\ structuru\ deviccs relum to his music with even greuter frequency."O.1 Erwartung
seems less un experiment. though. thun u deliberute utlempt to creute u musicul unulogy for the
unrepresentuble world of the unconscious: lhe Iislener. Iike the Womun. is deprived of uny
notion of stability. In ilS resistance to conventionul upproaehes. Erwurtung permits the Iislener Il
degree of instinctuul understanding. while stillleaving us undeeided about the ullinmte l'ale of
both theatrical and

n;:.!~ical

9lJarman. p.20S.

evenls.

67
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