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Malcolm MacDonald

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172010.001.0001

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Three Stage Works

Three Stage Works

(p.253) Chapter Twelve Three Stage Works

Malcolm MacDonald

Oxford University Press

Schoenberg’s three completed operatic works display three different approaches to the problem of writing for the theatre, and they bespeak a very different sensibility from the more orthodox operatic conceptions glimpsed among these early projects. The first two projects, Erwartung and Die Glückliche Hand, set out to create entirely new forms. They are major products of his “expressionist” upheaval, the one a freely associative, painful exploration of an individual subconscious mind; the other, a highly symbolic representation of the creative artist’s existential predicament. The third project, a large-scale 12-note work from his Berlin years, reverts to more traditional theatrical conventions as a “domestic comedy” opera.

Keywords:   Schoenberg, stage works, Erwartung, Glückliche Hand, comedy opera

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