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Vier Lieder für eine Singstimme und Klavier [Four songs for voice and piano] op. 2

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1. Erwartung (Richard Dehmel)

2. Jesus bettelt (Richard Dehmel)  

3. Erhebung (Richard Dehmel)   

4. Waldsonne (Johannes Schlaf)  

DURATION: ca. 12 Min.

Nr. 1, »Erwartung« (Richard Dehmel), 9. August 1899 (Erste Niederschrift);
Nr. 2, »Jesus bettelt« (Richard Dehmel), Spätsommer/Herbst 1899;
Nr. 3, »Erhebung« (Richard Dehmel), 16. November 1899 (Erste Niederschrift);
Nr. 4, »Waldsonne« (Johannes Schlaf), um 1900

FIRST PERFORMANCE: 11. Februar 1904, Wien (Nr. 1 und 2; Ansorge-Verein; Walter Pieau, Gesang; Oskar Posa oder Alexander Zemlinsky, Klavier); 26. Januar 1907, Wien, Ehrbar-Saal (Nr. 3; Arthur Preuss, Gesang; Alexander Zemlinsky, Klavier); 14. Januar 1910, Wien, Ehrbar-Saal, (Nr. 4; Martha Winternitz-Dorda, Gesang; Arnold Winternitz, Klavier)

DEDICATION: »Meinem Lehrer und Freunde Alexander von Zemlinsky«

1. Erwartung (Richard Dehmel) - Universal Edition UE 3652
2. Jesus bettelt (Richard Dehmel) - Universal Edition UE 3653
3. Erhebung (Richard Dehmel) - Universal Edition UE 3654
4. Waldsonne (Johannes Schlaf) - Universal Edition UE 3655
Sammeldruck - Belmont Music Publishers (USA, Canada, Mexico): BEL 1022

Opus 1 – 3, which Schönberg had published between 1903 and 1904 by the Dreililien Verlag comprise vocal compositions which were all composed probably before 1900 and without being intended as a cyclic collection. They have one thing in common, their dedication to the mentor, friend and brother-in-law Alexander von Zemlinsky: Zemlinsky is the one “to whom I owe most of my knowledge of the technique and the problems of composing,” remarked Schönberg in 1949 in “My Evolution.” It was Zemlinsky who acquainted the autodidact Schönberg with the inner life of the music of Brahms and Wagner, to which also those four songs which Schönberg later gathered under the opus number 2, bear witness. Thus, until around 1897, the composer was specially influenced by Brahms (from whom he learned, as he said himself: “Economy, but at the same time, richness,” and from 1899 increasingly by Wagner (to whom he owed “the ability to turn themes around” by using expanded harmonies). A motival “knotting technique” (Heinrich Schenker) becomes evident with rich chords, thirds and sixths, as well as massive bass octaves brought into the theme structure, by virtually orchestrally employed tremolos or by chromatically altered harmonic connections. Also, Schönberg’s development was significantly stimulated by the literary models for his compositions. In 1897, a year after the publication of Richard Dehmel’s collection of poems “Weib und Welt” (“Woman and World”), the composer set first of all one poem “Mädchenfrühling” (“Maiden’s Spring”) to music; for his three Lieder op. 2 he took three more, and in subsequent years settings for more Dehmel poems and for a text by Johannes Schlaf followed. As Richard Dehmel described the strong impression in December 1912 made by a performance of Schönberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” (“Transfigured Night” also inspired by a poem from “Weib und Welt”), the latter admitted in answer: “Your poems have had a decisive influence on my development as a composer. They were what first made me try to find a new tone in the lyrical mode. Or rather, I found it without even looking, simply by reflecting in music what your poems stirred up in me.” (13 December 1912) In particular Dehmel’s linguistic density in representing colours inspired Schönberg to look for a new “sound.” Very similar to Kandinsky more than ten years later in “Über das Geistige in der Kunst” (“Concerning the Spiritual in Art”), in the poem “Erwartung” (“Expectation”), set by Schönberg as the first song in his cycle, Dehmel, for example describes the “antiethical” colour value red (as “warm and intensive”) and green as (“passive and calm”), black (referring to a “dead oak” – associated by Kandinsky with the stillness of death) and white (in connection with “pale moonlight” – according to Kandinsky as stillness that conceals possibilities for change). Schönberg attempts to reproduce the emotional effect of the thus-described colour values and relations with subtly-coloured sounds, as in the beginning with later-recurring altered appoggiatura chords and their harmonic resolution ornamented by arpeggi. Within the cycle, chords often seem to be freed of any function relative to the tonic; using incomplete cadences, a slowing of the harmonic tempo or repeated chords, the idea of sounds as “structure-forming” colour values (Walter Frisch) is encouraged. At the same time, the setting of the poems to music - similar to Dehmel’s models - is subject to strict, often symmetrical relationships.

Matthias Schmidt
© Arnold Schönberg Center


Richard Dehmel

Aus dem meergrünen Teiche
neben der roten Villa
unter der toten Eiche
scheint der Mond.

Wo ihr dunkles Abbild
durch das Wasser greift,
steht ein Mann und streift
einen Ring von seiner Hand.

Drei Opale blinken;
durch die bleichen Steine schwimmen
rot und grüne Funken
und versinken.

Und er küßt sie,
und seine Augen leuchten
wie der meergrüne Grund:
ein Fenster tut sich auf.

Aus der roten Villa
neben der toten Eiche
winkt ihm eine bleiche
Frauenhand ...

Schenk mir deinen goldenen Kamm (Jesus bettelt)

Richard Dehmel

Schenk mir deinen goldenen Kamm;
jeder Morgen soll dich mahnen,
daß du mir die Haare küßtest.

Schenk mir deinen seidenen Schwamm;
jeden Abend will ich ahnen,
wem du dich im Bade rüstest
oh, Maria, oh, Maria!

Schenk mir alles, was du hast;
meine Seele ist nicht eitel,
stolz empfang ich deinen Segen.

Schenk mir deine schwerste Last:
willst du nicht auf meinen Scheitel
auch dein Herz, dein Herz noch legen


Richard Dehmel

Gib mir nur die Hand,
nur den Finger,
dann seh ich diesen ganzen Erdkreis
als mein Eigen an!

Oh, wie blüht mein Land!
Sieh dir's doch nur an,
daß es mit uns über die Wolken
in die Sonne kann!

Johannes Schlaf

In die braunen, rauschenden Nächte
flittert ein Licht herein,
grüngolden ein Schein.
Blumen blinken auf und Gräser
und die singenden, springenden
Waldwässerlein und Erinnerungen.

Die längst verklungenen:
golden erwachen sie wieder,
all deine fröhlichen Lieder.
Und ich sehe deine goldenen Haare glänzen,
und ich sehe deine goldenen Augen glänzen,
aus den grünen, raunenden Nächten.

Und mir ist, ich läge neben dir auf dem Rasen
und hörte dich wieder auf der glitzeblanken Syrinx
in die blauen Himmelslüfte blasen.

In die braunen, wühlenden Nächte
flittert ein Licht, ein goldener Schein.