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Erwartung (‘Expectation’)locked

  • O.W. Neighbour

Extract

Monodram in one act, op.17, by Arnold Schoenberg to a libretto by Marie Pappenheim ; Prague, Neues Deutsches Theater, 6 June 1924.

In August 1909, shortly before starting work on Erwartung, Schoenberg described in letters to Busoni the ideal towards which he was then striving in his music. He wanted to leave behind him concentration on separate feelings in unreal isolation, along with the associated musical structures controlled by conscious logic, and find a means of expressing the multiplicity of contradictory feelings that can arise simultaneously from the unconscious. He had just asked a young doctor of his acquaintance, Marie Pappenheim, to write an opera libretto for him on a subject of her own choosing. It is clear from the resulting drama that she was familiar with recent psychological and psychoanalytical thought, and that she must have known about Schoenberg’s current preoccupations; it may not be irrelevant that her relative Bertha Pappenheim was the ‘Anna O.’ whose illness had been successfully treated by Josef Breuer and described in his and Freud’s ...

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