Special Exhibition

At the explosive stage of emotional high-tension
Richard Strauss - Arnold Schönberg
Elektra – Erwartung

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As different as their biographies may be, as divergent as the artistic and ideological position of Strauss and Schönberg developed, both composers took up epochal concerns which had equal effects on their art around 1900, culminating perhaps in Elektra (1906 – 1908) and Erwartung, one-act operas with striking thematic parallels.

The special exhibition at the Arnold Schönberg Center is devoted to the multifaceted relationships of both artistic personages, attempting to trace affinities in Schönberg’s music with Strauss’ symphonic and operatic work.

The contemporaneity of Elektra and Erwartung and their literary substance rooted in musical-psychological contexts of the greatest intensity are hallmarks which have long since made them icons of the modern era. These key works of the 20th century share a translation of an “archetype” of “sensual and emotional expressions” (Strauss) as well as “afflictions which, unwantedly, yield us our subconscious,” as Schönberg formulated it.

The original manuscripts and papers – many of them on public display for the first time – provide insight into the two composers’ creative processes, suggesting how symptoms of crisis and rupture are expressed in the modern era – in musical explosions of emotional high-tension.