Preface to Volume 16, 2 B
This volume contains the annotated edition of the surviving sketches and rough drafts for Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder, published in volume 16, 1 of series A of the complete works. It includes an edition of reconstructions of earlier versions of all the songs from parts I and II and of three songs from part III.
The material contained in the sketches derives from every one of the many stages in the genesis of the work and reflects a correspondingly wide range of different points in the process of composition, ranging from spontaneous jottings and preliminary drafts to fair copies of draft versions of the score.This collection also includes an outline of work in progress on the final chorus, showing only the most important lines in the music: Schoenberg, according to his own testimony, did not elaborate this until shortly before he completed the score in November 1911. The vast majority of the sketches relate to the melodrama entitled “Des Sommerwindes wilde Jagd” from part III, where the complex and multilayered interweaving of voices required more careful planning than the love songs from part 1; these were composed quickly and in rapid succession, and almost all of the surviving sketches relate to their instrumentation.
Some of the sketches for the Gurre-Lieder were only made in the final stages of the process of composition, when individual parts of the cycle were revised, extended and in some instances completely rewritten. Some of the songs in question were partly or wholly removed from the first transcript by being crossed out or obliterated by additions pasted over them, and have thus been preserved in their original form. In most cases, however, Schoenberg added these changes to the manuscript immediately as corrections, so that it has only been possible to reconstruct the earlier version by the careful removal of later additions. The selection of earlier versions published here for the first time is restricted to those songs that present a certain individual character, when the nature and number of subsequent alterations is considered. For this reason two earlier versions have been preserved of the song “Herrgott, weisst Du, was Du tatest”, which forms part II of the Gurre-Lieder.
The chief requirement in editing these earlier versions, which together with the sketches make it possible to acquire deep insights into the composer’s working processes, has been the removal of the numerous additions that had been stuck over the first transcript, sometimes in several layers. Here thanks are due to Verena Graf, the restorer who has dealt so expertly with this difficult task, and to the Arnold Schoenberg Center and the archivist there, Therese Muxeneder, who made it possible for this work to be carried out.
Thanks are also due to Wolfgang Behrens for his transcription of a large number of the sketches, to Christian Meyer and colleagues at the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna for considerable help provided there, and to the Snyder Collection, Maryland.
Berlin, January 2005
(English translation Julia Rushworth)