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Object #95 / Arnold Schönberg: Prelude, op. 44


Arnold Schönberg Center, Wien

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). Arnold Schönberg depicts the universe before the Creation with a fugue (which includes an introduction and a coda). The text-free chorus poses the difficult question about the interpretation of the genesis myth. It appears in the final development, briefly pauses before the final intensification, and reappears in the final bars before gradually extinguishing.

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