Zwischenspiel (Ger.: ‘interlude’)
- Michael Tilmouth
An interlude or intermezzo. The term has been applied to musical interludes that serve simply to entertain between the acts of operatic works of the 19th and 20th centuries, although ‘entr’acte’ or ‘Entrakt’ has often been preferred even in German-speaking countries. It has also been used of those interludes that contribute to the essential dramatic structure of the whole, e.g. the Zwischenspiel between Acts 1 and 2 of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron; ‘Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt’ is described as a Zwischenspiel in some editions of Götterdämmerung, though it is doubtful whether Wagner himself so described it.
In writings about music the word is commonly used of the episodes in a fugue or rondo, the orchestral tuttis of a concerto, the purely instrumental interludes in a song accompaniment, organ interludes between the stanzas of a congregational hymn or the passages between statements of the chorale tune in a chorale prelude and, rather loosely, of the ...