Herzgewächse

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Herzgewächse (German: "Foliage of the Heart"), Op. 20, is a composition by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg scored for coloratura soprano, celesta, harmonium, and harp. The text is taken from a poem of the same name by Maurice Maeterlinck. The duration of the work is approximately three-and-a-half minutes, making it the shortest of Schoenberg's works with an opus number. The work is also notable for the extreme demands made on the singer which at one point has to ascend to a high F (pianissimo), nearly two-and-a-half octaves above middle C.

Composition[edit]

The work was completed on 9 December 1911 and premiered by Marianne Rau-Hoeglauer in Vienna on April 1928 under the direction of Anton Webern. Herzgewächse is one of Schoenberg's completely atonal works and one in which the music attempts to accurately reflect the meaning of the words. The voice runs parallel to the words of the poem, as it tries to follow the meaning implied: when the singer sings "sink to rest", she descends to a very low register; however, when she sings "imperceptibly ascending",[1] she progressively rises to one of the highest pitches in the piece.

The harmonium plays the opening chords and plays throughout the piece: the celesta and harp, on the other hand, have numerous rests.[2]

The work was originally written to be featured in Wassily Kandinsky's journal Der blaue Reiter (German: The Blue Rider), as an example of one of Schoenberg's early atonal works.[3]

Notable Recordings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maurice Maeterlinck (2007). "Herzgewachse libretto" [Foliage of the Heart] (PDF). Naxos (in German). Hong Kong: Naxos Digital Services Ltd. p. 1. Retrieved July 16, 2011. [...] richtet sich empor [...] 
  2. ^ Robert Craft. "Booklet from the CD 8.557523 from the Naxos catalogue". Naxos. Hong Kong: Naxos Digital Services Ltd. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ Alexander Carpenter. "Herzgewächse, song for soprano, celesta, harp & harmonium, Op. 20: Compostition Description". Allmusic. Santa Clara: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Reviews for the CD 8.557523 from the Naxos catalogue". MusicWeb International, Gramophone, Limelight, David's Review Corner. Hong Kong: Naxos Digital Services Ltd. March–August 2007. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ Blair Sanderson (2007). "Review for the CD 8.557523 from the Naxos catalogue.". Santa Clara: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 7 stars out of 10 

External links[edit]