Von heute auf morgen

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Von heute auf morgen
Opera by Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold schönberg man ray.jpg
The composer in 1927
Translation From Today to Tomorrow
Librettist Max Blonda
Language German
Premiere 1 February 1930 (1930-02-01)
Frankfurt Opera

Von heute auf morgen (From Today to Tomorrow or From One Day to the Next) is a one act opera composed by Arnold Schoenberg, to a German libretto by "Max Blonda", the pseudonym of Gertrud Schoenberg, the composer's wife. It is the composer's opus 32.

The opera was composed at the end of 1928 (finished on the first day of 1929), and was premiered at the Frankfurt Opera on 1 February 1930, with William Steinberg conducting Herbert Graf's production. It was the first twelve-tone opera, and Schoenberg's only comedy. The libretto may indeed be a contemporary comedy of manners, but the music is complex, the angular vocal-lines and large orchestra creating a frightening whirlwind of fury. Schoenberg wrote: "I have proved in my operas Von heute auf morgen and Moses und Aron that every expression and characterization can be produced with the style of free dissonance".[1]

Performance history[edit]

In 1930, after the Frankfurt premiere, the composer himself conducted a radio broadcast performance in Berlin. After that, the opera was never performed again during Schoenberg's lifetime. Recent revivals include four performances at the Leipzig Opera in 2009.[2]

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere cast[3]
1 February 1930
(Conductor: William Steinberg)
Die Frau / The Wife soprano Else Gentner-Fischer
Die Freundin / The Friend soprano Elisabeth Friedrich
Der Sänger / The Singer tenor Anton Maria Topitz
Der Mann / The Husband baritone Benno Ziegler
The Child speaking role

Synopsis[edit]

Place: A modern living room/bedroom.

The husband and wife have returned from an evening out and recall the earlier flirtations of the night. During the conversation, the wife gradually changes into a lovely negligee. Their small child interrupts, and is put back to bed. The singer, from earlier in the evening, telephones, making the husband jealous. The wife changes into a cocktail dress, then back into the simple house-dress seen at the start of the opera.

In the morning, the singer and the friend arrive for an early visit, and are served coffee. They champion all the latest trends in society. When they leave, the husband and wife realize, over breakfast, that their own relationship is based on love, not the mere latest fashion.

Instrumentation[edit]

The score calls for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 4 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 saxophones, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion, mandolin, guitar, harp, piano, celesta, strings. The full score is available from Schott Music.[4]

A performance lasts for about one hour. It contains music for flexatone.[5]

Recordings[edit]

Film version[edit]

The 1996 recording was the basis for a film version (Du jour au lendemain) directed by the French filmmaking duo of Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. Photographed on a stage in black-and-white (with a pre-credits sequence showing the orchestra tuning up), the film was one of three films by Straub and Huillet based on Schoenberg works. Earlier, they had directed a film version of his unfinished opera Moses und Aron.

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Schoenberg, Arnold (1984). Stein, Leonard, ed. Style and Idea. Black, Leo (translator). Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 244–5. ISBN 0-520-05294-3. 
  2. ^ "Performances – Von heute auf morgen". Operabase. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Almannaco 1 February 1930" (in Italian). AmadeusOnline. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Von heute auf morgen – Schönberg – ed. Richard Hoffmann". Schott Music. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  5. ^ BBC (1973). The Listener, Vol. 89, p.191. BBC.
  6. ^ "Review - Schoenberg - Orchestral and Vocal Works". Gramophone. January 1973. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Review - Schoenberg - Von heute auf morgen". Gramophone. May 1998. Retrieved 6 September 2010. [dead link]

Sources