Preface to Volume 24, 1 B

The present volume contains for the Serenade, op. 24, the Editorial Report, the sketches for the work and its genesis and history, including the most important documents. The reports for the rest of the works presented in volume 23 of Series A appear in volume 23,2 of Series B. The underlying reason for the division into two volumes is the necessity of accounting for the pivotal re-orientation of Schoenberg’s compositional creativity at the beginning of the 1920s. The work’s tangled source situation connected with this process reflects the procedural character of this course of events and requires a painstaking reconstruction of the separate phases of this process stretching over a time period of altogether nearly three years.

The special circumstances of origin involved the individual source types in an extremely variable relationship to the chronology of the work’s genesis, which always had to be redefined from movement to movement, sometimes even from section to section. Thus, for instance, surviving are fair-copy scores of a later-excluded fragment (see volume 23 of Series A, pp. 213–218) and of the fragmentary early version of movement V, likewise basically reworked at a later point in time (see in the present volume, pp. 342 ff.), whereas lacking are the first drafts of two movements. Superseding them within the work’s genesis are, respectively, a succession of continuity drafts for the first movement and the short score of the third movement, although the latter was in fact already begun in the earliest genetic stage, but completed only in the very last phase. Typical, furthermore, of the Serenade’s chequered genesis is that the first drafts of the last four movements originated only after the fair-copy scores of the first movement and of the second, initially incomplete one, as well. The details of origin as well as of the sometimes also puzzling source transmission are discussed in the relevant section (see pp. 349ff.) and completed by an account of the printing history and of the important performances, together with a rendition of the most important documents.

The complex genesis of the Serenade also had direct implications for textual criticism: Since Schoenberg approached the definitive form of the work gradually over a time period that was for him relatively long, the production of the individual text stages within the hierarchy of sources was for him an admittedly indispensable, though rather irksome writing chore – an approach documented in the designation ‘copy’ or ‘copied on’ at the close of the short-score version as well as of the score version of several movements, and that had repercussions for the text form arising from the double copying process. The resulting errors, some of them serious, found mostly in the first print, are discussed in detail in the Critical Notes.

The central section of the Editorial Report is reserved for the rendition and analysis of the extensive sketch material. The sketches offer not only important clues to the work’s genesis, but also give an in-depth view into the beginnings of Schoenberg’s serial thinking. Thus, the vocal fourth movement contains the earliest systematically-rotated twelvetone row that here, though, is still not autonomously set musically, but refers to the structure of the underlying Petrarch Sonnet. Following from the associated sketches is the idea that the rotation principle also constitutes the basis of the instrumental introduction’s chordal layers, which is not readily disclosed by an analysis of the ultimate version.

All the voices in the third movement’s variations are already serially determined, whereby also making use of, besides the prime form (untransposed), the three other serial forms, inversion, retrograde and retrograde inversion. At that, the theme is not based on a twelve-tone row, but on a fourteen- tone row containing, furthermore, only eleven of the twelve chromatic tones. Emerging, amongst other things, from the sketches for this movement is how meticulously Schoenberg planned the derivation of the independent ‘motives’ by means of arithmetical models, recognisable in which is already a basic principle of the later twelve-tone works.

The sketches for the fifth movement ultimately reveal that the immediate breakthrough for the later re-working of the movement abandoned already in an early stage of the composition lay in using the first six tones of the theme as an abstract ‘tone stock’ and juxtaposing in the ländler-like middle section the six tones missing in the chromatic total – a treatment foreshadowing the principle so essential for the twelve-tone method of ‘hexachordal combinatoriality’.

The editor’s special thanks are owed all persons and institutions supporting the editorial work through the kind provision of sources as well as through the collegial exchange of ideas and expert professional advice: Therese Muxeneder and Eike Fess (Arnold Schoenberg Center, Vienna), Daniel Boomhower (The Library of Congress,Washington, D.C.), Roland Schmidt-Hensel (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin), Thomas Leibnitz (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna), Mikael Kristiansen (Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen), Claus Røllum- Larsen (Royal Library, Copenhagen), Tabea Lepuschitz (Antiquariat Löcker, Vienna), Regina Busch (Alban Berg Gesamtausgabe, Vienna), Signe Rotter-Broman (Universität der Künste, Berlin), to the Ensemble Wiener Collage and its director René Staar as well as to Rudolf Stephan, the ‘Spiritus Rector’ of the Complete Edition.

Berlin, in August 2014
Ulrich Krämer
English translation Margit L. McCorkle