Prelude, Op.44 (Schoenberg, Arnold)




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Melione (2017/9/5)

Performers Maharani
Publisher Info. J. Winston Lenin Records, 2017
Misc. Notes This is a MIDI representation and does not claim to sound realistic. Consider it an oddity.
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Sheet Music


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Melione (2017/9/5)

Publisher. Info. Holograph manuscript, 1945.
Misc. Notes *Page eight is missing from the upload or rather the website had accidentally uploaded page seven twice instead.
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General Information

Work Title Prelude to Genesis for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra
Alternative. Title
Composer Schoenberg, Arnold
Opus/Catalogue NumberOp./Cat. No. Op.44
I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No. IAS 32
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 1 movement
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 1945 (September 21-30)
First Performance. 1945-11-18 in Los Angeles, Wilshire Ebell Theater
Janssen Symphony of Los Angeles, Werner Janssen, conductor
First Publication. 1973/75 – Los Angeles: Belmont Music Publishers
Language Wordless
Average DurationAvg. Duration 5 minutes
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Early 20th century
Piece Style Modern
Instrumentation mixed chorus, orchestra
External Links Schoenberg Center
Extra Information This is Schoenberg's prelude to Nathaniel Shilkret's Genesis Suite, to which other composers, including Stravinsky, also contributed.

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Schönberg composed the Prelude Op. 44 for mixed chorus and orchestra in September 1945 as an introduction to a cantata on the biblical Creation story. It consists of the beginning of a pastiche of Genesis, commissioned by the composer and the publisher Nathaniel Shilkret (the other parts are by Shilkret himself [The Creation], Alexander Tansman [The Fall of Man], Darius Milhaud [Cain and Abel], Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco [The Flood], Ernst Toch [The Promise] and Igor Stravinsky [The Tower of Babel]).

Schönberg depicts the universe before the Creation with a fugue (which includes an introduction and a coda), the beginning seeming to be preamble to a preamble. He shapes melodic designs from changing row permutations, but refrains from drawing formal consequences from the “subjects.” The fugue – or fugato – consists of six subject entries which, despite their dodecaphonic transformation, clearly evince Bach as their model. “I used to say, ‘Bach was the first twelve-tone composer.’ That was meant as a joke, of course” (Schönberg, Bach, 1950).