Work of the Week - Arnold Schönberg: Moses und Aron
On 19 April 2015 Schoenberg’s largest and most complex work Moses und Aron will be staged at the Komische Oper Berlin, in a production by Barrie Kosky with music conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. The opera, written between 1928 and 1932, was never finished: though Schoenberg planned to compose three acts, the final of these never reached completion.
At the centre of Moses und Aron is the conflict between the two protagonists. Moses, from the outset communicating through spoken word rather than as a singer, doubts his ability to successfully communicate God’s word to the people. On the other hand Aron, performed by a Dramatic tenor, is a very skilled communicator who understands the peoples’ need for clear and comprehensible images. However, Aron’s lack of understanding of the word of God culminates in his creation of the Golden Calf, incurring Moses’ anger, wrath and finally resignation, as depicted in his final line “O word, o word, that I lack.”
The inherent contradiction between abstract thought and its distortion through representation is a philosophical problem that underlies much of Schoenberg’s oeuvre. As a result, some interpreters have recognised aspects of the composer in his portrayal of Moses. Though Schoenberg was mostly misunderstood during his lifetime, he recognised himself to be a musical revolutionary. He said of his extraordinary role in avant-garde music:
Someone had to be it, nobody wanted to be it, so I decided to be it myself. – Arnold Schoenberg.
The original reception of Moses und Aron has always been connected with the rise of anti-Seminitism in the 1930s. Schoenberg himself only narrowly managed to escape arrest during this turbulent time, emigrating to the USA when dismissed from his positions in Germany. This new production at Komische Oper is part of a series of events marking the 70th Jubilee year of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp.
Foto: Komische Oper Berlin: www.facebook.com/komischeoperberlin/photos/
On 19 April 2015 Schoenberg’s largest and most complex work Moses und Aron will be staged at the Komische Oper Berlin, in a production by Barrie Kosky with music conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. The opera, written between ...
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