Thursday 6 June 2019. 4-5pm, Roy Barnett Hall.
Chair: Richard Kurth, University of British Columbia
Paths through Programs: Motivic Process in Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (1899)
Adam Roy, Western University
Carl Dahlhaus writes that Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (1899) is “covered with a web of thematic and motivic relationships, a web which becomes tighter and thicker as the work proceeds” (Dahlhaus, 1987, 97). Although poetic, to date this statement remains largely unsubstantiated. This paper will remedy this analytical disparity, providing an examination of salient correlations between the transformational processes within the music and the corresponding transfiguration of subjects within the program narrative, exploring Dahlhaus’s web structures. My analysis treats motives as functional objects, signified through intervallic markers. Modelling intervallic paths, I analyze motivic development through intervallic transformations, demonstrating musical paths that correspond to discrete narrative processes reflected within the source text. Thus, I advocate that narrative power within Verklärte Nacht arises through the functional objects of intervals within discrete motives through their capacity as developmental – and narrative – markers.
The Alban Berg Estate in the Austrian National Library possesses three compositions by Arnold Schoenberg bound together in a single volume. Labeled “F 21 Berg 170” it contains Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet, op. 10; the Serenade, op. 24; and the Wind Quintet, op. 26. Throughout this volume there are many handwritten annotations and analyses entered directly onto Schoenberg’s scores. The Austrian National Library website claims that some of the analytic markings were written by Berg and in another hand. Berg provides a clue to the second author of these analyses, his student Julius Schloß. Schloß studied with Berg from 1925–1928 and became his personal assistant soon thereafter. In my presentation, I argue that most of the twelve-tone analyses on the Quintet were written by Schloß, not Berg. This claim is supported by a detailed account of the handwritten annotations on two additional analyses of the Quintet unquestionably written by Schloß.