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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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Unfinished Torsos

Unfinished Torsos

(p.274) Chapter Fourteen Unfinished Torsos

Malcolm MacDonald

Oxford University Press

Schoenberg tended to compose at great speed; many of his major works came into being in a matter of weeks. But there were others which were never completed. Three of them remained after Schoenberg’s death as “torsos”—not fragments or sketches but substantial, performable representatives of his thought which add significantly to the understanding of the man and his creative evolution as a whole. This chapter considers these works. Central to all three—the oratorio Die Jakobsleiter, the opera Moses und Aron, and the Modern Psalm—is the idea, or the process, of prayer. Schoenberg was a religious man by temperament as well as conviction.

Keywords:   Schoenberg, uncompleted works, Jakobsleiter, Moses, Aron, Modern Psalm, religion

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