Preferred Citation: Frisch, Walter. The Early Works of Arnold Schoenberg, 1893-1908. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1993 1993.

Chapter Four— The Dehmel Settings of 1899

Chapter Four—
The Dehmel Settings of 1899

Schoenberg and Weib und Welt

If, indeed, as the stylistic and paleographic evidence suggests, all the compositions discussed in part I of this study were completed by the end of 1897, then 1898 appears to have been a relatively fallow year in Schoenberg's early creative life. The only works that we can attribute to it with relative certainty are the two songs, op. 1 , and the aborted symphonic poem Frühlings Tod.[1] The songs of op. 1 are strikingly different both from what preceded them in 1897 and from what followed them in 1899. Schoenberg turns away from both the folk-like poetry of Heyse and the modified folk style of the two Dehmel poems toward two longer, more discursive texts—examples of what has been called Begriffipoesie —by an-other contemporary, Karl von Levetzow (1871–1945).[2] The expansive, cantata-like musical settings, with their extravagant piano parts, contain many splendid moments, but they were ultimately an expressive dead end for Schoenberg. He was to find his own path, his own voice, in his rediscovery of Dehmel's verse, specifically the collection Weib und Welt. Schoenberg's involvement with this volume in 1899 was so intense that I believe it can be said that his remarkable development that year, culminating in the sextet Verklärte Nacht, grew directly out of his search for a musical language appropriate to the poetry of Weib und Welt.

[1] Although the autographs for the op. 1 bear no date, there is a partial preliminary draft of no. 1, Dank, at the Schoenberg Institute, dated 30 July 1898 (see SW B1/2/II: 143). The particell for the symphonic poem is dated ten days earlier than the song sketch, 20 July 1898 (see Maegaard 1972, l:28). This work will be discussed briefly at the beginning of the next chapter.

[2] The texts were taken from Levetzow's collection Höhenlieder: Gedichte und Aphorismen (Vienna: Carl Konegen, 1898), where (like the Dehmel poems set in 1897) they appear on consecutive pages. Here, however, Dank (Schoenberg's no. 1) comes after Abschied (Schoenberg's no. 2).


TABLE 3  Schoenberg's Works or Fragments of 1899 Based on the Original 1896 Edition of Weib und Welt   by Richard Dehmel


Page in
Weib und Welt

Date of
composition, 1899

in SW




A2: 99–101

Warnung (first version), op. 3/3


7 May

B1/2/II: 18–22



11 May

B3: 253–58

Erwartung, op. 2/1


9 August

A1: 23–25

Aus schwerer Stunde



B1/2/II: 148

Im Reich der Liebe



B1/2/II: 149–51

Jesus bettelt, op. 2/2



A1: 26–28

Erhebung, op. 2/3


16 November

A1: 29–30

Verklärte Nacht, op. 4


September–1 December

There survive fragments, drafts, or completed manuscripts for eight compositions of 1899 based on the poems from Weib und Welt (table 3). The only other works firmly attributable to this year are the songs Die Beiden (Hofmannsthal), composed on 4 April, and Mailied (Goethe), composed on 8–9 May. On the same type of paper as these two songs, and probably composed about the same time (although undated), is a setting of Dehmel's Mannesbangen. The earliest dated Dehmel song manuscript of 1899, the first version of Warnung (op. 3, no. 3), was written on 7 May, a day before Mailied. The apparent chronology, then, suggests that Schoenberg's preoccupation with Weib und Welt began in the spring of 1899 and very soon displaced all other poetic interests, even in such high-quality verse as that of Hofmannsthal and Goethe.[3]

Weib und Welt, which appeared in the fall of 1896, marked an analogous milestone in Dehmel's poetic development. In a letter to a friend in October of that year the poet himself noted that in this volume, "I believe I have finally found

[3] In light of the fluid publication history of Dehmel's poems—especially the fact that poems were transferred and reprinted among different collections—it may seem risky to assume that Schoenberg drew all his 1899 and 1905–6 poems directly from Weib und Welt. But the high incidence of compositions based on poems that appear in that volume(wherever else they may also have appeared) points strongly to the composer's acquaintance with it. Moreover, it is clear that he had access to Weib und Welt at least in 1906: the sketch for Besuch bears the annotation "Dehmel 112," a reference to the precise page on which this poem appears in Weib und Welt.


the proper simplicity, the balance between form and content, which is distinguished from the 'classical' style only in that it gives expression to my own time and eternity" (Dehmel 1923, 256). Weib und Welt had a great impact on younger poets, inspiring the twenty-one-year-old Rainer Maria Rilke to write an unabashed fan letter: "Since I have come to know Weib und Welt, my admiration for you has grown enormously. A book of poetry like this comes along only once in a century."[4]

The appearance of Weib und Welt also brought the greatest public notoriety of any of Dehmel's works. In June 1897 the poet was called into a Berlin courtroom to defend himself against charges of blasphemy and immorality. On 23 June he responded with a remarkable "open letter," which bears partial quotation here for the light it sheds on the poetry to which Schoenberg was to be drawn so strongly:

First, I must disagree that to an unprejudiced mind the overall content of the book can appear immoral [unsittlich] —whether blasphemous or lewd [gotteslästerlich, unzüchtig]. To be sure, the book shows how a human being, contrary to his holiest principles, abandons himself to a sensual passion, and is thereby driven by the most painful emotional turmoil, finally to a disgraceful death. Clearly it cannot be the artist's task to disguise or conceal the seductive charms that lie naturally within every passion. But I believe that anyone who helps the human soul open its eyes to its bestial urges serves true morality better than many a moralistic accuser.

DEHMEL 1963, 126

Dehmel's open letter reveals something of the inner "turmoil" he was himself experiencing at the time. Weib und Welt is a largely autobiographical work,inspired by the poet's infatuation with Ida Auerbach, whom he met in the fall of 1895. Their affair was to lead to the breakup of his marriage to Paula Oppenheimer, and to his eventual marriage to Auerbach in 1901.[5]

It may have been the publicity surrounding the court proceedings of the summer of 1897 that first brought Dehmel to Schoenberg's attention: as we saw in chapter 3, his earliest Dehmel settings date from the fall of 1897. Even though he might have come to know Weib und Welt at this time, Schoenberg initially turned to earlier, less steamy verses of Dehmel's. Only in 1899 was he inclined to take

[4] Cited in Dehmel 1963, 195. For more information on the creation of and reaction to Weib und Welt, see Bab 1926, 194–203.

[5] On Ida Auerbach, or "Frau Isi," see Bab 1926, 175–93.


on musically the full-blown eroticism of Weib und Welt. Schoenberg's biographer H. H. Stuckenschmidt has noted plausibly that this compositional activity coincided with his courtship of Mathilde Zemlinsky, whom he was to marry in 1901 (Stuckenschmidt 1978, 40).[6]

Only four of Schoenberg's Dehmel song efforts of 1899 were actually to be completed and published by him: as op. 2, nos. 1 (Erwartung), 2 (Jesus bettelt), and 3 (Erhebung); and op. 3, no. 3 (Warnung). These collections appeared, respectively, in October 1903 and April 1904.[7] At least one of the songs, Warnung (to be discussed below), was extensively revised, probably shortly before publication. Erwartung and Erhebung are virtually identical in their 1903 publication to the dated drafts of 1899.

Given Schoenberg's Dehmel infatuation and the generally high quality of his settings, it is noteworthy that he did not choose to make his op. 2 an all-Dehmel set, indeed an all-Weib und Welt one, with Warnung as the fourth song (or as one of the four). The publication of Warnung was delayed until op. 3, and a weaker if attractive song, Waldsonne, set to a text by Johannes Schlaf, was inserted to round out op. 2. These actions suggest that by the fall of 1903 Schoenberg was still not satisfied with Warnung, and that he needed to find a last-minute substitute.

Whatever the precise details and dates of their Entstehungsgeschichte —here as elsewhere it is not possible to establish a watertight chronology—the Dehmel settings of 1899 merit close attention because it is through them that Schoenberg moves definitively beyond the Brahms style to explore and gain mastery over a more progressive chromatic language and more ambitious musical forms. There is no question that this language owes much to Wagner, and probably something to Wolf and Richard Strauss, all composers for whom Schoenberg developed an

[6] The turn to Dehmel's more intensely erotic poems, as well as to a more chromatic musical style, may also have been spurred in part by Zemlinsky's Dehmel settings of 1898, especially Entbietung, op. 7, no. 2, which is in the same key and shows certain other similarities to Schoenberg's Mannesbangen. For further discussion, see Frisch 1986, 172–73.

[7] These dates of publication are taken from a postcard in Alban Berg's Nachlaß at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna. To my knowledge, they have never been discussed before. When preparing a book on Schoenberg (which he never completed), Berg wrote to Verlag Dreililien to get exact publication dates for the early works. The firm responded with a card (dated 14 February 1921) that noted:


op. 1
op. 2
op. 3
op. 4
op. 7
op. 6



Okt. 1903
   "       "
April 1904
Mai 1905
Febr. 1907
Jan. 1907

These dates, for which the firm must have checked its own files.should probably be taken as definitive.


appreciation in the last few years of the century. As with some of the Brahmsian works examined in part I, we now find many Wagnerian "symptoms," such as surging model-and-sequence constructions. One particularly bald example is the lengthy instrumental introduction to Gethsemane, a fragment for baritone and orchestra, which is modeled directly on the Prelude to Tristan. As the piece unfolds, the sequences become progressively shorter and the climax is reached (on the "Tristan" chord, of course) approximately three-fourths of the way through (m. 25).

The interest and importance of the works of 1899 lie in the way Schoenberg assimilates some of these Wagnerian techniques to the Brahmsian ones he had already absorbed. Schoenberg himself pointed to this kind of synthesis in Verklärte Nacht (Schoenberg 1975, 80), which was completed toward the end of 1899;but the other Dehmel works form an indispensable part of this process. Based on the style and technique of the surviving music and on the chronology suggested by the paper types, we can trace, in brief, the following development in Schoenberg's Dehmeljahr.

He turned first, in the spring of 1899, to two of the most explosive poems in Weib und Welt, "Mannesbangen" and "Warnung." In the first of these settings, the chromatic harmony and the motivic language—the Wagnerian and Brahmsian spheres, so to speak—are poorly coordinated. Warnung is in these respects more successful, but still awkward; Schoenberg himself was dissatisfied enough to undertake a major revision in 1903–4. The draft of Warnung was followed by Gethsemane, set to a very different kind of poem, a long monologue spoken by Jesus on the eve of his arrest. Here, too, Schoenberg came to a dead end, breaking off the piece after 88 measures.

With the song Erwartung, composed on 9 August, Schoenberg managed to strike the right balance between chromatic expansion and formal control; the song embodies perfectly on a small scale those processes to be expanded in Verklärte Nacht, begun in September. The last two completed Dehmel settings of 1899, Jesus bettelt ("Schenk mir deinen goldenen Kamm") and Erhebung, may be seen to divide between them the dual, Wagner-Brahms musical inheritance of the Dehmel year. The former shows a great mastery of chromatic harmony and the-matic transformation, the latter of motivic development, polyphonic density, and flexible phrase structure. Something of what is achieved in these last two songs is adumbrated in the fragment Im Reich der Liebe, also composed in the fall.[8]

[8] After the intense involvement with Dehmel's poetry in 1899, Schoenberg returned to it during two later periods, in 1905–6, and again in 1914–15. At neither time did the verse seem to strike the same spark. With the exception of the song Alles, op. 6, no. 2 (September 1905), to be discussed briefly in chapter 8 below, all these other Dehmel works remained fragments (see Frisch 1986, 170–71, and Bailey 1984, 79–118).



In "Mannesbangen," as in many poems of Weib und Welt, the speaker is a man addressing a woman, and there is a great emphasis on physical, specifically sensual, detail—the eyes, hands, hair, head, and loins. Also like many poems in the collection, "Mannesbangen" has a symmetrical structure. The central seven lines of physical description are framed by the opening and closing couplets, which articulate the poem's basic conceit of fear:

Du mußt nichtmeinen,
ich hätte Furcht vor dir.
Nur wenn du mit deinen
scheuen Augen Glück begehrst
und  mir mit solchen
zuckenden Händen
wie mit Dolchen
durch die Haare fährst,
und mein Kopf liegt an deinen Lenden:
dann, du Sündrin,
beb' ich vor dir—

You must not think I am afraid of you. Only when you with your shy eyes
desire happiness and with such quivering hands like daggers run through
my hair, and my head lies upon your loins: then, you sinful woman, I
tremble before you—

Two autographs survive for Schoenberg's setting of Mannesbangen, one a fragment extending only ten measures, the other a slightly altered revision complete except for one measure, m. 6 (Appendix ex. K). There are many aspects that place the song light years beyond the Dehmel settings of 1897: the extraordinarily busy piano accompaniment; the angular vocal part, with large dissonant leaps; and the profusion of vagrant harmonies, especially the augmented triad, the diminished seventh, the half-diminished seventh, and the French sixth. In a clear attempt to capture the framing aspect of the poem, Schoenberg fashions an ABA' form in which the outer sections (mm. 1–6 and 21–25, the latter in fact the piano postlude) are diatonic and the central one (mm. 7–20) is dominated by the vagrant harmonies.

Ulrich Thieme has suggested that the B section of the song is in fact oriented around a diatonic sonority, the subdominant B minor, which is touched upon three times in passing (mm. 11, 12, and 15) and then approached with more em-



Example 4.1
Mannesbangen , cadential articulation points.

phasis in m. 17.[9] Although Thieme's analysis is persuasive, it does not account sufficiently for the way

, the supertonic of that B minor and the dominant of the song as a whole, governs the harmonic and melodic aspects of the middle section. Indeed, up until the climax of the song in mm. 17–18, every cadence, half-cadence, or principal point of articulation occurs on a sonority based on
, as shown in example 4.1. Only the first occurrence, the broad half-cadence on the song's dominant in m. 5, is diatonic. The central section begins by retaining the
root of m. 5 but transforming the harmony to a vagrant half-diminished seventh (m. 7), which is sustained by means of bass arpeggiation for four measures. (In m. 9 Schoenberg momentarily transforms the chord to a full-diminished; the chord note B is replaced by

This is literally the same chord that dominated much of Mädchenfrühling, but the different treatment it receives shows how far Schoenberg's harmonic language has traveled. In the earlier song the half-diminished was treated exclusively as a pre-dominant (at the end, a dominant substitute) of B minor. In Mannesbangen, Schoenberg more extensively exploits the chord's vagrant possibilities along the lines of the tongue-in-cheek description he provides in Theory of Harmony, where vagrant chords are characterized as "homeless phenomena, unbelievably adaptable and unbelievably lacking in independence: spies, who ferret out weaknesses and use them to cause confusion; turncoats, to whom abandonment of their individuality is an end in itself; agitators in every respect, but above all: most amusing fellows" (Schoenberg 1978, 258). Although the chords cause considerable fluidity and ambiguity in the middle section, Schoenberg demonstrates an impressive concern for overall coherence by organizing the articulation points with a large-scale bass arpeggiation of the

triad, as shown in ex. 4. 1. In this way,
, rather than B, becomes the real functional tonal center for the middle section.

The large role played by

in supporting vagrant harmonies in the B section of the song has the effect of weakening its power as an actual dominant of

[9] See Thieme 1979, 167–68. The song is also discussed briefly in Bailey 1979, 103–4.



Example 4.2
Mannesbangen , cadences omitting dominant.

minor. Schoenberg realized that the final cadences to the tonic could not be effectively made via its own dominant. Thus

is approached first from the French sixth (mm. 20–21) built on D (with a notated
instead of
), then from a diminished seventh on
(mm. 23–24). As shown in ex. 4.2, both are elliptical progressions, omitting the expected dominant seventh.[10] These kind of ellipses become more common in the music of Schoenberg (and of other composers) as a result of the weakened cadential power of the traditional dominant. Jesus bettelt, op. 2, no. 2, a song in the same key as Mannesbangen, ends with an elliptical cadence (mm. 42–43) much like that in mm. 23–24 of Mannesbangen: the tonic is approached directly from
of V[11]

Despite the large-scale control manifested by Schoenberg's organization of the vagrant harmonies around

, Mannesbangen remains an awkward song in several respects. Its motivic language seems stiff, even clumsy, by comparison with the elegant use of developing variation in Mädchenfrühling. The basic motive of the song is the stepwise third, which is heard ascending in m. I (
), and ascending and descending across mm. 2–3 in the (
). Unlike the "Aprilwind" motive in the earlier song, however, this one seems not to undergo significant expansion or transformation. Despite the general atmosphere of Leidenschaft, it remains earthbound, appearing only in slight variants of the original forms of mm. 1–3 (mm. 7 and 10–II:
;  mm. 8 and II.
; m. 12,
; mm. 14–15,
). To be sure, the rising third assumes different rhythmic shapes and metrical positions: in m. 1 it appears in quarter notes, beginning on beat 2; in m. 7 it is quarter-note triplets, beginning on the downbeat; in m. 10, it is eighth notes, beginning (as an upbeat) on beat


3½. Yet these alterations do not really give motivic life to the song; they fail to generate process or development.[12]

Only at the climax of the song does the motive undergo more significant modification. Here the descending form is extended across two full measures in a dramatic sequence (

, mm. 17–18, and
, mm. 19–20). The expansion coincides with the principal phrase—the "punch line"—of the poem, beginning with "dann" (the preceding seven lines are part of a subordinate "wenn" clause). The moment is indeed effective, and yet it has not really been "earned" by preceding motivic development.

The other principal flaw of Mannesbangen is the great discrepancy between diatonic and chromatic harmony. As mentioned above, Schoenberg attempts to reflect the structure of the poem by "framing" the central chromatic portion of the song with diatonic segments. But the contrast between the stodgily diatonic A section and wildly chromatic B section is too extreme, too unmediated. Indeed, the fact that m. 6 remained incomplete—with only a solitary E-minor triad in the right hand—suggests that Schoenberg himself found the gap difficult to bridge. He could not decide how to move persuasively from the broad, conventional half-cadence on the dominant

in m. 5 to the vagrant half-diminished seventh chord of m. 7. The two chords share the same root but occupy two different universes.


In Dehmel's "Warnung," the imploring, submissive persona of "Mannesbangen" has become a jealous figure who poisons his dog and threatens his beloved with a similar fate if she is not careful:

Mein Hund, du, hat dich bloß beknurrt
und ich hab ihn vergifte;
und ich hasse jeden Menschen,
der Zwietracht stiftet.

Zwei blutrote Nelken
schick ich dir, mein Blut du,
an der einen eine Knospe;
den dreien sei gut, du,
bis ich komme.

[12] According to the criteria Schoenberg himself adopts in Fundamentals of Musical Composition (Schoenberg 1967, 8), these changes in the motive would constitute "variants" rather than genuine "developing variations." With the latter "there is something which can be compared to development, to growth. But changes of subordinate meaning, which have no special consequences, have only the local effect of an embellishment. Such changes are better termed variants. "


Ich komme heute Nacht noch;
sei allein, sei allein, du!
Gestern, als ich ankam,
starrtest du mit Jemand
ins Abendrot hinein—Du:
denk an meinen Hund!

My dog, you, merely snarled at you, and I have poisoned him; and I hate
everyone who sows discord.

I send you, my blood you, two bloodred carnations, on one of which is a
bud; be good to the three, you, until I come.

I'm still coming tonight; be alone, you! Yesterday when I arrived, you were
staring deep into the dusk with someone—you: think of my dog!

Given the musical style of Mannesbangen, one might expect Schoenberg to give the still more violent "Warnung" an analogously more florid setting. In fact, however, with his May 1899 setting of this poem, Schoenberg reins in some of the earlier pianistic and harmonic extravagance to create a tauter, more intense song. Above all, he seems to be striving for a new kind of relationship—new in his own work—between piano and voice. In Warnung, the piano bears almost the full weight of musical continuity, while the vocal part is broken up or dissolved into relatively small declamatory fragments that sometimes unfold independently of the phrase structure of the accompaniment. Perhaps to offset the fluidity of the voice, the piano part is decidedly square in terms of rhythm, meter, and phrase structure. In the A section of the song—the song as a whole has a ternary structure—the piano has essentially two thematic ideas, x and y (Appendix ex. L; complete 1899 version in SW B½/II: 18–22), which appear in alternation: x twice (1–4), y (5–6), x twice (8–11), y expanded (12–16). The second x–y pair is transposed up a fourth. The vocal part in mm. 1–3 overrides, or floats free of, the 2+2 structure of the piano: the conjunction "und," which actually begins the second vocal phrase, appears on the last note of x in m. 4.

A particularly significant aspect of Warnung is the role played by thematic transformation in shaping the B section of the song. Indeed, we have here one of the earliest examples in Schoenberg's works of a theme being reshaped (rather than pulled apart or developed) to yield an entirely different affect.[13] The piano's fivenote figure x from m. I is reworked in m. 17 such that it retains its original contour and identity, although its intervals are adjusted (see ex. 4.3). The lower neighbor now appears on the third beat (F in m. 17) rather than the second (

; the interval of the third (
) now becomes a whole-step appoggia-

[13] For more detailed discussion of the distinction between thematic transformation and thematic development, see Frisch 1984, ch. 2, and Friedheim 1963, 13–14.



Example 4.3
Warnung , thematic transformation (piano part only).

tura (

)The upward arpeggio (F minor in m. 2) is inverted, becoming a downward arpeggio (
in m.18)

Schoenberg elegantly shifts harmonic weight in the transformation. In mm. 1–2 the progression is iv-i-v; the most emphasis falls in the second half of the first measure, with the tonic triad. In the transformation in mm. 17–18, the harmonic progression is now adjusted to move toward the key area of

(VI); the metrical weight thus coincides with the
triad on the downbeat of m. 18. (In the 1899 version this
chord is in
position, with
in the bass; in the revised version published in op. 3, Schoenberg places an octave
deep in the bass to reinforce the key.) The kind of thematic transformation evident in Warnung is, of course, nothing new in the nineteenth century, but it does show Schoenberg fastening, perhaps for the first time, on a way to achieve greater continuity and coherence in his musical language: this kind of coherence was lacking in the frenetic motivic world of Mannesbangen.

Despite the more flexible relationship between voice and piano and the role played by transformation, the 1899 draft of Warnung remains awkward. The vocal line of the A section swings clumsily between very small intervals (seconds at "Mein Hund, du" and "ich hab ihn vergiftet") and large octave leaps (at "hasse," "Menschen," and "Zwietracht"). The chords falling every half-measure in the left hand in the A section make for metrical heavy-handedness. The return to A' in m. 38 is also disappointingly literal, coming from the pen of a composer preoccupied with fashioning subtle returns in some of his earlier songs (as in an earlier Dehmel setting, Mädchenfrühling, examined in chapter 3). In the 1899 Warnung, Schoenberg opts for an exact return of x and y from mm. 1–6 in the piano (mm. 38–43).

Schoenberg clearly felt the need for a substantial postlude to take up or dissipate the intense energy of the song. But the long-winded postlude he wrote in 1899 surely makes for one of the least persuasive endings among the early songs. Transposed but literal statements of y (mm. 42–46; cf. mm. 11–15) and x (mm. 47–50; cf. mm. 1–4) give way to a repeated cadential figure moving to the tonic


major (mm. 53–56). This figure, which bears no meaningful relation to x or y, seems peculiarly unmotivated or arbitrary in a song that has been so taut in its motivic economy (if also square in phrase structure).

All the features that I have characterized as weak were altered when Schoenberg came to revise Warnung in 1903–4. Strictly speaking, those revisions lie outside the scope of this chapter, for they obviously form no part of Schoenberg's development in 1899. (A chronologically oriented discussion of them would belong somewhere between chapters 6 and 7 of the present study.) But for the convenience of the reader, and because the revisions have, to my knowledge, never been taken into account in the general Schoenberg literature,[14] I shall summarize them here. (I include no musical examples from the op. 3 revision; readers should refer to the available published score.)

· When Schoenberg came to revise Warnung, he altered both the stiff phrase structure and rhythms of the piano and the melodic shape of the vocal line. In the op. 3 version, the second part of the A section (mm. 7–13) is now compressed and varied: it begins like the 1899 version, with a sequential repetition of x, but then deviates from the second half of m. 8. As Schoenberg must have realized, the repetition of y material in mm. 12–16 of the original version is unnecessary from the musico-poetic point of view: it serves only to complete the formal plan, x y x y, and leaves six awkward measures of silence in the vocal part. Underneath a revised vocal part (mm. 9–13), Schoenberg omits y altogether and introduces octaves and sequential imitation based on x.

· Another weakness of the 1899 version, the strong metrical stress on each half-measure, is removed in op. 3. In the x material, mm. 1–4 and 7–8, Schoenberg replaces the regular dotted quarter notes in the left hand with brief figures or chords that begin off the beat. This greater rhythmic nervousness captures much more effectively the spirit of the text and also provides better contrast with the stressed beats in the y material of mm. 5–6 and 9–13.

· In the op. 3 version Schoenberg also gives the vocal line greater continuity and coherence. He eliminates some of the short-breathed quality—without sacrificing any declamatory force—by filling some of

[14] For example, the analyses of Warnung in Stuckenschmidt 1978, 38–40, and Friedheim 1963, 91–94, are based on the version published in op. 3, which is tacitly assumed to be identical to the draft of 1899 and thus is discussed as if it were a composition of that year. Most of the musical features discussed by these two authors are in fact a result of the later revisions.


the large temporal gaps and rests with sustained notes ("du" and "und"). He also brings closer together lines 2 and 3 of the poem, thus bringing forcefully forward the phrase "ich hasse" and eliminating the long vocal pause in mm. 5–7 of the 1899 version. Schoenberg also moderates the intervallic extremes of the 1899 song, in the process giving the text greater definition. The first "du" is now given greater emphasis by the descent of a fourth, to C, from which the vocal line rises logically upward to the high

: of m. 3. The continuation, in the new mm. 4–10, is also made more coherent and less hysterical by the elimination of the octave leaps and by the dramatic rise from the sustained low
of "und" in m. 4 to the high
(the highest note in the song) on "hasse."

· A small but striking difference between the A section in the two versions of Warnung involves the harmony of the y component. In the 1899 version, the inner voice of the piano in mm. 5–7 plays a thirtysecond figure with

. The chord thus formed on the second half of mm. 6 and 7 is a conventional dominant seventh of
(the key of the following x material). In the revision, the
becomes a
throughout these measures (mm. 5–6), a change that transforms the chords into vagrant whole-tone harmonies. In the second half of m. 5, the chord becomes
in the last half of m. 6, the harmony is now a dominant seventh with a lowered fifth (a French sixth type of chord),
[15] What was a conventional progression in the 1899 version thus becomes much more "vagrant" in 1903–4. This change is wholly characteristic of the more advanced tonal language of the op. 3 version and places it logically in the context of the First Quartet, op. 7, to be examined in chapter 8 (see also mm. 43–45 of the revised song for more whole-tone formations).

· Two other important aspects of the 1899 Warnung that were altered in 1903–4 involve the extent of the return in A' and the piano postlude. Schoenberg radically modified the entire A' section, first by avoiding a literal return in the piano. The second two measures of x (mm. 37–38), instead of repeating the first two (cf. 3–4), are now transposed up a tone. Moreover, from m. 39 the accompaniment continues as if recapitulating mm. 9ff., the x passage reworked with sequence and imitation.

[15] Schoenberg demonstrates this way of altering a dominant seventh in his Theory of Harmony (Schoenberg 1978, 355, ex. 287). However, he does not specifically mention the chord's whole-tone properties in this context. Rather, he sees the whole-tone scale as arising from a dominant seventh with a raised fifth (and thus an augmented triad) (Schoenberg 1978, 391).


· Schoenberg also alters the voice part. At the return in the 1899 song, he seems determined to compress the three lines of text (lines 12–14) into three measures (mm. 38–40), where at the opening the same musical space had been filled by only one line of the poem. The vocal part of mm. 38–41 is declaimed with very small note values. As Schoenberg came to realize, the compression is too great, especially at the fast tempo of the song. In the revision Schoenberg allows lines 12–14 of the poem to unfold over six measures, but compensates somewhat for the expansion by marking the return "Sehr rasch." He also introduces a hemiola on "jemand" in m. 38 and extends the final "Du" and the admonition "Denk an meinen Hund" over a much broader expanse of five measures (mm. 41–45), as compared with the three of the 1899 version.

· In the revised Warnung Schoenberg completely recasts the postlude. He builds to a large, triple forte climax at m. 48, then winds down. Only the

appoggiaturas (
) from the original mm. 56–58 remain. The obtrusive cadences to
major are eliminated, and the final chord remains hauntingly ambiguous in its mode: it is presented only as a bare fifth,
, with no defining third.

Erwartung, op. 2, no. 1

The more flexible vocal style and the more motivically coherent accompanimental foundation toward which Schoenberg is apparently striving in the May 1899 version of Warnung are fully achieved in Erwartung. With its mastery of largescale ternary form, the control and coordination of melodic and harmonic processes, and the balanced relationship between voice and piano, Erwartung is the gem among the Dehmellieder of 1899. Schoenberg himself must have felt thus, when several years later he placed it at the head of his op. 2. With Erwartung, Schoenberg turned from frenetic texts to a more understated poem:

Aus dem meergrünen Teiche
neben der roten Villa
unter der toten Eiche
scheint der Mond.

Wo ihr dunkles Abbild
durch das Wasser greift,
steht ein Mann und streift
einen Ring von seiner Hand.

Drei Opale blinken;
durch die bleichen Steine
schwimmen rot und grüne
Funken und versinken.


Und er küßt sie, und
seine Augen leuchten
wie der meergrüne Grund:
ein Fenster thut sich auf.

Aus der roten Villa
neben der toten Eiche
winkt ihm eine bleiche

Out of the sea green pond, near the red villa, under the dead oak, shines the

Where her dark image reaches through the water, a man stands and draws a
ring from his hand.

Three opals glimmer; red and green sparks swim through the pale stones
and sink away.

And he kisses them, and his eyes glow like the sea green depths: a window

Out of the red villa, near the dead oak, the pale hand of a woman beckons
to him.

Dehmel's "Erwartung" is about sexual anticipation, not about unbridled fulfillment. The speaker is an impersonal narrator, not an impatient or threatening lover; emotions are controlled, as he or she describes, not the love encounter itself, but the expectation of it. "Erwartung" is also one of the most visually evocative poems in Weib und Welt, constituting a perfect example of the technique at which Dehmel hints in a diary entry of 1894: "Nowadays we aim to make poetic technique more sensuous by incorporating painterly and musical effects, just as painting and music attempt to learn new means of expression from the sister arts" (Dehmel 1926, 21). Dehmel claims that there are limitations to this kind of technical interchange but suggests, for example, that the poet might "associate a color word with a particularly strong upwelling of a certain emotional state" or might intensify his verse "through the use of sound symbols."

In "Erwartung," color words become more than simply adjectives describing the setting: Dehmel achieves "painterly effects" by treating them in a fashion that is almost abstract, stylized. Each line of the first stanza either states or implies a different color. The pond is "sea green," the villa "red," the oak "dead"—hence black or dark brown—and the moonlight pale white. These colors are then repeated and transformed. In stanza 3 the opals are "pale," the sparks "red and green." In stanza 4 the Grund, apparently referring to the immobile bottom of both the pond and the stones, is again "sea green." The final stanza acts as a return or (in musical terms) a recapitulation. "Red" and "dead" reappear, and the "pale," with its color value of white, is now transferred to the woman's hand.


By introducing the paired juxtapositions in stanza 1, red-green and black-white, Dehmel may consciously have sought to exploit color complementarity.[16] Indeed, he seems to endow the colors with strong psychological associations much like those Wassily Kandinsky was to outline in Concerning the Spiritual in Art of 1911. Kandinsky calls the elements of each such pair "antithetical." Green is passive, "the most restful colour that exists"; its opposite, red, is warm and intense. Black represents a "totally dead silence," white "a silence . . . pregnant with possibilities" (Kandinsky 1977, 36–41).

In Dehmel's poem, the shining moon, the blinking stones, and the waving hand of the woman—the physical images most closely linked to the lovers' anticipation—are pale or white, and thus appropriately "pregnant with possibilities." The villa, presumably the actual scene of the lovemaking to come, is red. The images implying less motion, the dead oak and the tranquil pond, are black and green.[17] "Erwartung," then, is truly a study in poetic color, a fine example of what one Dehmel scholar has called a Farbenspiel (Fritz 1969, 71). The coloristic and painterly qualities of "Erwartung" also suggest an affinity with one of the leading contemporary movements in the visual arts, Jugendstil.[18]

The poem has a symmetrical structure that might also be considered painterly. The two outer stanzas, which are similar in content, frame the poem even more strongly than the beginning and closing couplets in Mannesbangen. There is an elegant inner symmetry as well. The two principal unidirectional actions of the poem, the man pulling the ring from his hand, and the window going up, are presented in the second and fourth stanzas. At the still center of the poem are the most circular or static actions: the opals glimmer, the sparks swim (although they also sink).

Schoenberg was, to the best of my knowledge, the only major composer of the time to set "Erwartung" to music.[19] His musical imagination was clearly kindled by the possibilities of realizing the "painterly" aspects of the poem, especially the Farbenspiel. At the very opening (ex. 4.4a), the words "meergrünen" and "roten" are accompanied by a distinctive five-note harmony built from the tonic note


[16] Red and green are considered psychologically complementary colors, as are black and white. See the useful discussion in Osborne 1970, 258.

[17] Even if the oak is taken to be brown instead of black, similar associations prevail: Kandinsky calls brown "unemotional, disinclined for movement" (1977, 40).

[18] On Dehmel's personal contacts and/or collaborations with Jugendstil artists, see Fritz 1969, 39–43. The best general treatments of Jugendstil in the visual arts can be found in Schmutzler 1962, in Hamann and Hermand 1973, and in the essays collected in Hermand 1971. For further discussion of the affinities or connections between Schoenberg's music and Jugendstil, see Frisch 1990b.

[19] I have found no evidence to support Ernst Hilmar's claim that Zemlinsky also set the poem (Hilmar 1976, 57–58). Zemlinsky published no setting, and no such manuscript exists in his Nachlaß at the Library of Congress. Challier's song catalog does, however, report that a setting of Dehmel's "Erwartung" by a W. Jordan appeared sometime between July 1904 and July 1906 (Challier 1906, 1951), thus shortly after Schoenberg's.



Example 4.4
Erwartung , op. 2, no. 1.



Example 4.5
Erwartung , transformations of color chord.

and four neighbor notes. Schoenberg proceeds to make this "coloristic" chord structural, much as Dehmel does with the color words in the poem. In a manner reminiscent of, but more sophisticated than, Mädchenfrühling of two years earlier, this single Klang, or harmonic configuration, comes to dominate the song.

Edward T. Cone has shown how the color chord is successively transformed in the song.[20] In ex. 4.5 I elaborate on aspects of his sensitive but brief analysis. W represents the chord as it appears in mm. 1–3. Respelling and inverting the chord, placing D in the bass, give X, a dominant thirteenth sonority with the seventh omitted and the ninth flatted.[21] It is in this form transposed down a fifth, Y, that the chord appears on the third and fourth beats of m. 4, at "scheint der Mond." In context, the

actually functions as an appogiatura to
, whereby the transformed chord (Y') assumes more clearly the shape of a dominant seventh, with flatted ninth. It is this chord that pervades the entire middle section of the song (stanza 3) and then returns, transposed to the real dominant,
, for the piano postlude.

At the opening of the second stanza, the entire initial progression is repeated, transposed down a minor third, in the key of C major. This level of transposition assures maximum intersection between the pitches of the original (W) and transposed color chord (Z). A comparison of the chords W and Z in my example will reveal three pitches in the common (

). Only one of the ten other possible transpositions, up a minor third, yields as many common pitches.

In that it resolves to the tonic twice in mm. 1–2, the color chord in its initial, neighbor-note form (W) may be considered a kind of enhanced or substitute dominant. And, as I have just argued (following Cone), it is transformed into just such a chord at m. 4 (Y and Y') and in the middle section of the song. But

[20] See Cone 1974, 28–29. Other published analyses of Erwartung include Just 1980; Brinkmann 1984, 27–28; and Friedheim 1963, 98–103.

[21] Friedheim (1963, 98) suggests that the five-note chord should be interpreted not as an appoggiatura chord, but as an "altered supertonic ninth without the root." I find this analysis misrepresents the way the chord is actually presented and transformed. At first the chord clearly functions as an appoggiatura to the tonic triad; only later is it reinterpreted as a kind of ninth chord (though not on the second degree and not with an absent root).


Y is the dominant of C major, not of

; and the larger form of Erwartung derives its tension precisely from the way Schoenberg sets up but avoids the arrival of the real dominant, a process we shall now explore.

With "Erwartung," Schoenberg finally settled on a Dehmel poem perfectly suited to a rounded musical structure, to which some of the earlier settings could be fitted only with difficulty. The broad five-part form might be analyzed as:


m. 1

m. 6

m. 12

m. 18

m. 23

m. 26

After the delicate, flickering stasis of mm. 1–2, the harmony begins to move toward the dominant via the subdominant sonorities of mm. 3–4 (the voice at "unter der toten Eiche" outlines a sudominant triad). But on the last two beats of m. 4 (at the sfpp), Schoenberg abruptly substitutes a dominant on G (chords Y and Y'), and the vocal part cadences on

, a half-step above the expected

This G dominant continues to replace

until the splendid climax of the song (ex. 4.4b), at the end of the C section, where the subdominant reappears and now leads firmly, by means of half-step motion in the bass, toward the dominant. On the downbeat of m. 21,
is articulated in strong, stark octaves by the piano and the voice. (It seems likely that in setting the word "Grund" to these lone
, Schoenberg was creating a kind of musical pun, but also reading his text with great sensitivity.) The
then supports a cadential
harmony; but no dominant chord is forthcoming. Instead, on the downbeat of m. 23 the original color chord reappears in a low register.

The moment is indeed "magical," as Cone has said, though I would not agree that the chord "is accorded the status of a true dominant" (Cone 1974, 29). There can, I think, be only one "true" dominant; and Schoenberg's compositional strategy, as I have been describing it, is precisely to avoid articulating the dominant harmony. He continues to do so throughout the transition and the recapitulation (A"). Only in the piano postlude is the entire dominant chord presented; and, as if to make up for its previous absence, it is repeated again and again. The dominant functions here as the final transformation of the color chord, which now appears in its Y' form, transposed to the dominant.

The elegant harmonic process of Erwartung supports an equally elegant vocal part, one that is metrically much more flexible than in Mannesbangen, where the stresses tended to fall on the downbeat with some regularity, or in the original Warnung, where the freer declamation generated a vocal line that bordered on incoherence. In the A section of Erwartung, (ex. 4.4a), each phrase lies slightly differently in relation to bar line. Phrase 1 begins with an upbeat figure ("Aus


dem"), which is then in varied form ("Neben der") squeezed into the downbeat of phrase 2. This rhythmic-metrical migration continues in phrase 3, where the equivalent "upbeat" ("unter der") now falls on the notated second beat of the measure, while the notated downbeat remains empty. This progressive metrical shift of the prepositions ("Aus," "neben," "unter") serves to bring the musical climax of mm. 1–4, the

of "Eiche," onto the notated downbeat of m. 4. The subsequent verb phrase and the real grammatical goal of the first stanza, "scheint der Mond," also assumes a normal or expected position vis-à-vis the bar line, across mm. 4–5.[22]

The large-scale control evident in the harmonic and melodic aspects of Erwartung —specifically the treatment of the color chord, the withholding of the dominant, and the declamatory and metrical fluidity of the vocal part—is not to be found in Schoenberg's earlier works. He instinctively realized that the rather frantic style of Mannesbangen or the surging, Tristanesque harmonic language of Gethsemane would not be appropriate here. "Erwartung" is a poem not of passionate intensity or of Wagnerian-Schopenhauerian Sehnsucht, but of heightened anticipation.

The magisterial breadth and pacing of Erwartung give it a quality that might be justly called symphonic. Indeed, it is probably no coincidence that the composition of the song in August 1899 was followed shortly by work on what was to become Schoenberg's first instrumental piece truly to deserve that label, Verklärte Nacht. There are even certain similarities between the two poems, "Erwartung" and "Verklärte Nacht." Both have as their subject a nocturnal encounter between a pair of lovers. Both are framed by stanzas in which a narrator describes the scene (in "Verklärte Nacht," however, the characters also speak), a feature that inspired Schoenberg to create in both works a broad recapitulatory closing section. I suspect that the achievement represented on a smaller scale by Erwartung may have encouraged Schoenberg to undertake the ambitious sextet.

Im Reich der Liebe

Erwartung may be said to represent the still center, and also the musico-poetic high point, of Schoenberg's Dehmellieder. In what appear to be the last three settings of 1899, Schoenberg moves to consolidate more consciously, or at least more obviously, Brahmsian and Wagnerian compositional principles. Both together inform the fragment Im Reich der Liebe, in which Schoenberg set only the first of three stanzas (a full setting was probably to have a ternary form):

[22] For a brilliant and extended analysis of the metrical implications of vocal lines in certain later works of Schoenberg, see Lewin 1982.


O Du, dein Haar, wie stralt dein Haar,
das ist wie schwarze Diamanten!
O—weil wir uns als Herrscherpaar
der ewigen Seligkeit erkannten,

Oh, you, your hair, how your hair shines, it's like black diamonds! Oh—
because we knew ourselves rulers of eternal bliss, you!

In musical style and mood, the setting resembles Mannesbangen (see Appendix ex. M for the first eight measures). But where in the earlier song the succession of vagrant harmonies seemed out of control, here such chords—initially a half-diminished seventh (m. 3), a German sixth in third inversion (m. 4), and an augmented triad, notated in second inversion (m. 5)—are connected and supported by a strong bass line that descends by step (


In m. 6 of Im Reich der Liebe, Schoenberg interrupts the stepwise motion to prepare a cadence in the relative major, G: the bass now moves by fifth A-D-G. But the cadence is subtly sidestepped by both the harmonic resolution and the phrase structure; the next phrase actually begins before the harmonic arrival. In the measure of dominant preparation (m. 6), Schoenberg begins a new rising stepwise line in the right hand of the piano; the voice enters on the second beat, moving in parallel thirds and sixths. In the following measure, at the cadence to G minor, the rising line is transferred to the bass, where it is then repeated sequentially through m. 9. The sophistication here is threefold. First, Schoenberg overlaps the beginning of the new phrase in m. 6 with the harmonic cadence, which is not completed until m. 7. Second, the cadence is blurred by the motivic imitation or interchange between the right and left hands across the juncture of mm. 6—7. And third, the actual cadence is made to G minor rather than the expected major. In these ways, Schoenberg achieves continuity between the phrases.

Together with its Wagnerian (or post-Wagnerian) harmonic language, this passage provides a fine example of a technique characteristic of Brahms, which Schenker called the Knüpftechnik, or linkage technique: a motive introduced at the very end of a phrase is taken over to initiate the next one (see Frisch 1984, 15—16). Schoenberg's linkage is even more elegant than many in Brahms, since the harmony and phrase structure are made to be out of phase with one another; the new phrase begins in m. 6, but the cadence is completed only in m. 7.

Jesus bettelt ("Schenk mir deinen goldenen Kamm"), op. 2, no. 2

The song, Jesus bettelt pulls together various technical and expressive threads of the earlier completed Dehmel settings of 1899. It develops further the chromatic


style of Mannesbangen; it resembles Warnung in the declamatory flexibility of the vocal line and in the use of thematic transformation to shape the central section of the song; and it has something of the broad pacing, the control of the large scale, evident in Erwartung. A highly sensual appeal by Jesus to Mary Magdalene (and only slightly more chaste than the approaches of Wilde's Salome to Jokanaan), the poem is surely one of the texts of Weib und Welt viewed as bordering on blasphemy and obscenity:

Schenk mir deinen goldnen Kamm;
jeder Morgen soll dich mahnen,
daß du mir die Haare küßtest.
Schenk mir deinen seidnen Schwamm;
jeden Abend will ich ahnen,
wem du dich im Bade rüstest—
o Maria!

Schenk mir Alles, was du hast,
meine Seele ist nicht eitel,
stolz empfang'ich deinen Segen.
Schenk mir deine schwerste Last;
willst du nicht auf meinen Scheitel
auch dein Herz, dein Herz noch legen—

Give me your golden comb; each morning should remind you that you
kissed my hair. Give me your silken sponge; each evening I will envision
you preparing for your bath, O Mary!

Give me everything that you have; my soul is not vain, proudly I receive
your blessing. Give me your heaviest burden; will you not also lay your
heart upon my head, Magdalene?

The formal structure of Schoenberg's song is more ambitious than that of any of the earlier settings. Rather than fashioning a modified strophic or ternary form, Schoenberg treats the second stanza (mm. 19–38) as a kind of development or expansion of the first. The first stanza consists essentially of a six-measure statement and its sequential repetition up a half-step, followed by a climactic setting of Jesus' direct address, "o Maria." The music for "o Maria" returns in the second stanza for the analogous "Magdalena," but what precedes it constitutes essentially a development of motives from the first stanza.

The opening two-and-a-half-measure theme in the piano furnishes the basic material for the song. This theme has two components (labeled x and y in ex. 4.6a), which are developed separately in the second stanza. The basic principle resembles that of Warnung, but now the two thematic ideas are handled with



Example 4.6
Jesus bettelt  ("Schenk mir"), op. 2, no. 2.


greater fluidity. The theme remains relatively intact during the first fourteen measures. (Motive x is used for the transition between the statements of the sequence.) At m. 14, y is for the first time isolated and treated sequentially, in diminution, as Schoenberg builds to a climax at "o Maria." The second stanza is dominated at first by sequential repetition of y (mm. 19–23), which then gives way to sequential diminution of x. The diminution of x is first introduced in m. 23, then retreats and reappears to dominate all of mm. 26–33 (ex. 4.6b).

The modification of x in the accompaniment at the "wieder langsamer" of m. 26 manifests the same impulse toward thematic transformation seen in the B section of Warnung. The contrast in mood is, to be sure, not as marked as that between the angry opening of Warnung and the "carnation" transformation. But in Jesus bettelt, the Stimmung has definitely changed at m. 26, from "ausdrucksvoll" to "sehr innig." And this change is accompanied or reflected by the new treatment of x.

Also more successful is Schoenberg's treatment of harmony. Two aspects are especially worthy of discussion. The first is the way Schoenberg underpins the chromatic voice-leading with strong fifth-oriented bass progressions. At the very opening (see ex. 4.6a), the bass steps down from

to D, supporting a move from the tonic
minor, to a half-diminished seventh, which resolves by appoggiatura to a regular diminished seventh (
). The bass now begins to move by fifth,
, a progression that gives coherence to the succession of vagrant chords and appoggiaturas. The end point of the progression, the whole-note
in m. 4, is initially treated as the root of a minor-seventh chord. But by the second half of the measure, it has become an enharmonic substitute for
:  the chord formed on the last eighth note (
) is a first-inversion triad that is enharmonically the tonic major. This is why the A7 chord on the downbeat of m. 5 sounds somewhat shocking; the
in the bass is in essence a cross-relation with, rather than a half-step resolution of, the preceding

Strong root progression in the bass emerges again in mm. 14–19. Here the effect is even more striking than at the opening of the song because of a very basic cadential I–II–V–I succession, in which, however, the diatonic Stufen are harmonized with vagrant chords (see ex. 4.7a). This passage shows how skillfully Schoenberg can extend or delay arrival on the tonic. The first cadence in the song, at "küßtest" in m. 6, is made to the tonic major. At the parallel spot in m. 14 ("rüstest") Schoenberg wants to avoid closure to the tonic so as to lead into the climactic "o Maria." The tonic note,

, appears in the bass under "rütest," but it is harmonized with the half-diminished "Tristan" chord (supporting the dim-



Example 4.7
Jesus bettelt,  vagrant harmonies with diatonic roots (piano part only).

inution of motive y), which is sustained for two measures. This chord then gives way to another vagrant harmony, a whole-tone chord with a

(the diatonic II) in the bass. The sonority is like that of a French sixth, but the chord does not function that way (a true French sixth in
would be
, resolving to the dominant). Five of the six notes of the whole-tone scale are present in m. 16 (only
  is missing), making this one of the earliest uses of the whole-tone complex in Schoenberg. (One measure of Waldesnacht, examined in chapter 3, also used a whole-tone harmony.) In m. 17, the
in the bass resolves to
and the whole-tone chord to the dominant seventh; this in turn resolves to the tonic major in m. 19.

The succession of chords in these measures shows Schoenberg attempting to connect vagrant harmonies by means of smooth voice-leading. As is suggested in ex. 4.7b, the first two of the three harmonies—the "Tristan" half-diminished and the whole-tone chord—differ from each other only by one half-step. Further half-step voice-leading produces the third chord, the dominant seventh. (The

of the second chord might be heard to "split" into the
of the third.) With the strong I–II–V bass progression, Schoenberg is able to give the chromatic voice-leading much greater coherence than in Mannesbangen.

Toward the end of the song, Schoenberg reworks the "o Maria" passage at the



Example 4.8
Jesus bettelt,  mm. 34–38 (piano part only).

parallel place in the stanza (ex. 4.8), where he manages to delay the tonic still longer. At mm. 34–36 (cf. mm. 14–17), a I–II–V supports, as before, the "Tristan" chord, the whole-tone chord, and the dominant seventh. But the dominant now resolves deceptively to a IV6 chord (which in turn moves on in the second half of the measure to a vi). This is an especially lovely moment, largely because up to this point in the song there has been no emphasis on the subdominant. Its appearance here at the conclusion fulfills, or at least begins to fulfill, the same tension-releasing function as in many classical and romantic codas. But instead of descending to

, the bass drops only to
; the upper voices remain in place, thus forming another vagrant harmony, an augmented triad (with the
of the appoggiatura providing a fifth note of the whole-tone scale). Although this augmented chord seems to be left hanging, it in fact differs by only one note from the succeeding tonic major triad that begins the postlude in m. 39. Thus even across the fermata and the change of register, Schoenberg is careful—as he is throughout this song—to create smooth voice-leading connections.

The final cadence of Jesus bettelt, as suggested above, resembles that of Mannesbangen and is motivated by similar harmonic procedures. In both cases the dominant is elided and the tonic is approached directly from what is normally a predominant chord, the French sixth in the earlier song, V/V  in Jesus bettelt. The rationale for this procedure in both songs is that the dominant has in some sense exhausted its cadential powers;  in Jesus bettelt, the dominant has featured strongly in the big climax at mm. 17–18 and the more restrained one at 35–36.

In Jesus bettelt, then, Schoenberg has tightened the harmonic and motivic procedures of the earlier Dehmel settings. This is accomplished above all through a more moderate and transparent accompaniment, a more focused motivic language, and a strong emphasis on stepwise connection between vagrant chords, which are here often underpinned with basic diatonic progressions.


Erhebung, op. 2, no. 3

The song Erhebung appears to be Schoenberg's final Dehmel setting of 1899. (Its composition may well have taken place contemporaneously with the copying of the score of Verklärte Nacht. ) The poem is the briefest of the texts selected by Schoenberg in 1899:

Gieb mir deine Hand,
nur den Finger, dann
seh ich diesen ganzen Erdkreis
als mein Eigen an!

Oh, wie blüht mein Land!
sieh dir's doch nur an,
daß es mit uns über die Wolken
in die Sonne kann!

Give me your hand, only your finger; then will I see the whole circle of this
earth as my own!

Oh how my land is blossoming, look at it now, so that it can rise with us
over the clouds toward the sun!

Rather than floating on top of an accompaniment that provides continuity, as in Warnung and Erwartung, the voice part of Erhebung is a full participant in the polyphonic texture. The voice is often doubled, or at least shadowed closely, by one line of the piano part. This kind of texture, also apparent in Jesus bettelt, contributes in Erhebung to a still more extreme motivic-thematic concentration and development. This concentration is apparent not only on the largest scale—the setting is a compact modified strophic one, A (mm. 1–11) A' (12–24)—but on the most detailed level. The melodic line at the very opening (see reduction in ex. 4.9) seems almost a programmatic announcement of the large role to be played by developing variation: the melodic line of m. 2 is clearly heard as a transposed retrograde of the m. 1: the descending triad of A, followed by the leading tone

, becomes in m. 2 the leading tone
, followed by an ascending triad of

Each of the two strophes of Erhebung is comprised essentially of a phrase and its varied or developed repetition. In the first strophe, mm. 5–9 constitute a modification and expansion of mm. 1–4, fashioned more subtly than anything we have seen up to this point. Schoenberg adjusts the metrical alignment of the melody and bass in ways that directly anticipate parts of Gurrelieder, in particular Tove's song "Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick," to be examined in chapter 6.



Example 4.9
Erhebung,  op. 2, no. 3, mm. 1–9 (piano and vocal parts reduced).

The A in the bass on the last half of m. 4 represents both the end point of the first phrase (which consists of eight half notes) and the beginning of the second (consisting of ten). Although it is slurred with the previous

, this A also begins a bass pattern whose contour closely resembles the pattern of the first phrase in mm. 1–4: it rises from A to C (cf. D in m. 2), descends back through A to
(cf. beat 1 of m. 3, beat 3 of m. 6), then rises again to A (cf. beat 3 of mm. 4 and 7). Measures 8–9 constitute the extension. Over this bass pattern, the vocal part also presents a variation of its original melody. Although it begins with the tied quarter note on the last beat of m. 4, and thus on the same beat as the bass A, the second vocal phrase proceeds to orient itself to the bar line like the first one (cf. mm. 2 and 6). Thus in the second phrase, bass and vocal line are essentially one half-measure out of phase through the end of m. 7; or, rather, they are each varied in a way that places the original components in a different metrical-rhythmic relationship. These sophisticated variation procedures also involve the harmony. The original I-I6 -ii6 -I pattern of mm. 1–2 is circular, reflexive; its varied repetition is more chromatic, less regular. The second phrase is oriented more toward the submediant,
, where it will cadence in m. 9. As in Jesus bettelt, the bass line now supports a series of vagrant rather than diatonic harmonies.

Where mm. 5–9 expanded the original thematic material, the first phrase of the second strophe, mm. 12–14, now compresses it into three measures, in prepara-



Example 4.10
Erhebung,  mm. 15–21 (piano and vocal parts reduced).

tion for a final, still greater expansion, mm. 15–21 (ex. 4.10). This expanded last phrase shows Schoenberg's powers of motivic-thematic development at their height in the 1899 Dehmel songs. By analogy to the preceding statements of the basic phrase, the high

on the last beat of m. 16 would be followed by an E on the downbeat of m. 17 (cf. mm. 3, 7, 14). But Schoenberg withholds that E, rising up to it dramatically through
; the E is reached on the downbeat of m. 18 ("uns"). Again by analogy to earlier places (mm. 3, 7, 14), the E would descend immediately (as an appoggiatura) to
. But Schoenberg delays that resolution as well: the E of m. 18 instead pushes upward to the A of "Sonne" in m. 20, the melodic high point of the song. This A descends to the orginal E, which then resolves to the expected
on the downbeat of m. 21. In mm. 17–21, then, Schoenberg has essentially expanded a one-measure gesture to five measures.

Even more than in the earlier Dehmel songs of 1899, Schoenberg avoids strong dominant resolutions in Erhebung. In Mannesbangen and Jesus bettelt the dominant (

in both cases) is often present but does not resolve to the tonic; in Erwartung, as we have seen, the dominant (
) is withheld for much of the song, but features in the approach to the return and in the coda. In Erhebung, Schoenberg seems to avoid any straightforward dominant whatsoever: pure E major is nowhere to be found. It is implied by the rising melodic line at "daß es mit uns" in mm. 17–18, and suggested by the big
sonority on the downbeat of m. 17. But the vocal E of "uns" is harmonized deceptively, with a
triad. In both the piano


transition between strophes (mm. 9–11) and the postlude (mm. 21–22), the tonic is approached directly (as in Jesus bettelt) from a form of V/V that has an

in the bass. The final tonic is reached via a still more vagrant whole-tone chord,
, which makes for a tritone leap in the bass,

In Mannesbangen and Jesus bettelt, the cadences to the tonic might be said to be relatively tentative and unconvincing. Erhebung is most impressive for the way in which the "false" dominants of mm. 11, 21, and 23 lead strongly, persuasively to the tonic. This effect is in part a function of, or corollary to, the thematicmotivic processes, which impart considerable continuity and thrust to the musical discourse.

In this sense, Erhebung represents the culmination of Schoenberg's Dehmel songs of 1899. Although traditional harmonic syntax has been loosened, it is compensated for by a dynamic motivic language and fluid phrase structure, which carry along and give meaning to the vagrant chords and the unusual harmonic resolutions. Even if we might prefer Erwartung as the most perfect song of Schoenberg's Dehmeljahr, Erhebung nevertheless embodies more than any other song the techniques that were to be developed in Gurrelieder and other later works.


Chapter Four— The Dehmel Settings of 1899

Preferred Citation: Frisch, Walter. The Early Works of Arnold Schoenberg, 1893-1908. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1993 1993.