Preface to Volume 14, 2 B

The present volume contains the Critical Notes for the fragments published in volume 14, 2 of series A (Serenade for small orchestra [1896], Frühlings Tod after Lenau for large orchestra [1898] and Fanfare for a Bowl Concert on Motifs of Die Gurrelieder for brass and percussion [1945]) and an edition with commentary of the accompanying sketches and drafts – including the bars and passages omitted during the process of composition and the unscored final 123 bars – of the equally fragmentary short score of the symphonic poem Frühlings Tod. This part of the volume also reproduces the surviving correspondence on the genesis of the Fanfare.

In addition, the volume contains all the fragments of works for orchestra which Schönberg, for varying reasons, did not take any further and which are not performable, in view of the manner in which they have survived. These fragments date from all phases of his compositional career and represent a very wide variety of stages of musical conception and, in some cases, realisation. They range from the short drafts of themes and melodies reproduced in the appendix to substantial opening passages of works in draft short or full score. In the latter instances we have not only a precise indication of the sonority of the work in question but also a clear and sometimes extensive outline plan; in the case of the symphony of 1937, the plan is programmatic in inspiration. In the case of the fragments using the twelve-note method, the preparatory working, sometimes quite elaborate, takes the form of detailed row charts and other serial devices which are also included in the present edition. Comprehensive commentaries on the individual fragments establish a relationship with the completed works that were composed during the same period, and also offer a sharper sense of the more general compositional problems that influenced Schönbergs conception of the different works. In several instances the existence of these problems helps explain why the work in question was abandoned.

Two fragments are of particular interest in this connection. The first is Schönbergs last original composition for orchestra, the opening of a movement headed ‘Lento, dating from April 1948. The series for this movement is derived from a tonal instrumental theme. The second is the fragment of a passacaglia, written in 1926, which forms an important link between the Suite op. 29 and the Variations for Orchestra op. 31 and thus is of key significance for the evolution of the twelve-note method. The numerous draft ideas for this fragment document the systematic way in which Schönberg searched for a tone row that would meet the principle of ‘all-combinatoriality.

Completing the edition of the fragments for orchestra are the drafts, also reproduced with commentary in the appendix, of the incidental music for Schönbergs speech drama Der biblische Weg (1927/1933) and of the music, never composed, for the Hollywood film The Good Earth (1935).

The size and varied contents of the material presented here have required the work of two editors. Ralf Kwasny has been responsible for editing the music and Ulrich Krämer for the textual commentary. The following individuals and institutions have given their support in many different ways during the preparation and completion of this volume: the cultural fund of the VG Musikedition, by providing financial assistance with material and travel costs; the late Eva Zillig and the staffs of the music departments of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, by helping in the search for a lost source; Peter Ruzicka, of Hamburg, for kindly making available a performing score; the archivists of the Arnold Schonberg Center in Vienna, Therese Muxeneder and Eike Fess, for their expert assistance during source and archival studies and for their patience in answering numerous queries; and, last but not least, the ‘Spiritus Rector of the Complete Edition, Rudolf Stephan, of Berlin, not only for providing photographic prints but for enabling us to draw on his immense store of knowledge and experience in countless conversations and discussions. Our thanks to them all.

Berlin, October 2009
Ulrich Krämer, Ralf Kwasny