Chapter

Torsos and Abstractions

Kálra Móricz

in Jewish Identities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520250888
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933682 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520250888.003.0008
Torsos and Abstractions

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Utopias tend to be located in geometrically arranged, constraining spaces. Utopian spaces are transparent, providing no hiding place for humans. Schoenberg's most utopian works, Die Jakobsleiter (Jacob's ladder), Der biblische Weg (The biblical way), and Moses und Aron, were all left incomplete. Their incompletion signals contradictions inherent in Schoenberg's attempt to fuse his spiritual, musical, political, and specifically Jewish concerns into personally marked artworks. Schoenberg attempted to integrate Jewish elements in two other works: in an incomplete arrangement of a song from Palestine and in Kol nidre, his only completed Jewish work in the 1930s. The fact that he could not complete the arrangement of the song from Palestine and that Kol nidre remained at the periphery of both Jewish liturgical practice and the Schoenberg canon indicates the difficulty of such combinations.

Keywords: Schoenberg; utopias; Kol Nidre; Die Jakobsleiter; Der biblische Weg

Chapter.  12443 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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