1. Jane Grey (Heinrich Ammann) >>> text | sources

2. Der verlorene Haufen (Viktor Klemperer) >>> text | sources

DURATION: ca. 11 Min.

Universal Edition
Belmont Music Publishers (USA, Canada, Mexico)

In its 1906 issue of the magazine "Die Woche", the Berlin publishing house of August Scherl held an open competition for ballad poetry, attracting such competitors as Hermann Löns, Otto Ernst and Max Geißler. In the Christmas issue of 22 December 1906, a composition competition was announced for contributions published under the title "A Treasure Chest of New German Ballads"("Neuer deutscher Balladenschatz"). It was probably for this occasion that Arnold Schönberg set "Jane Grey" to a text by Heinrich Ammann and "The Lost Hoard" ("Der verlorene Haufen") by Victor Klemperer: but without success, for the endowed prize of one to three thousand marks was awarded to Hans Hermann, Heinrich Eckl und Gustav Lazarus. Op. 12 also did not appear among the eleven additional poems published in the next special issue of "Die Woche." Schönberg's setting of a third text from the anthology "Jeduch" of Hermann Löns remained a fragment. All three works were composed between March and April of 1907; op. 12, No. 1 is dated 28. April. In "My Evolution" Schönberg regards the ballads as "immediate predecessors of the Second String Quartet" that marked the transition to his atonal period. Harmonically, op. 12 occupies a middle position between that which is (still) tonal – "Jane Grey" is centered in D minor and the related keys of B minor / B major / A minor – and the expressionistic style, and is thus comparable to the choronologically parallel first movement of op. 10. In addition to an exceptionally consolidated yet unconventional harmony, rhythm (as in the early songs "Warning"/"Warnung" op. 3, No. 3 and "By the Wayside"/"Am Wegrand" op. 6, No. 6) serves a structural function in "Jane Grey." The basic rhythmic motive of one measure appears both in the Prelude and at the beginning of the first verse ("They led him"/"Sie führten ihn") and, measured against the dramatic progress in the sense of 'developing variation,' will be thoroughly articulated in the succeeding verses: for instance, at the semantic climax of the ballad ("then hastened after into eternity"/"dann eilte nach in die Ewigkeit") in the superimposition of a dramatizing execution theme, or the change from quadruple to triple meter in the Epilogue ("And when the wind plays in the leaves"/"Und wenn der Wind in den Blättern spielt") as fade-over to the present.

Therese Muxeneder | © Arnold Schönberg Center