Historical and theoretical perspectives of Arnold Schoenberg's "Drei Klavierstuecke," Opus 11
Clinton, Mark Kennerly
Doctor of Musical Arts
The purpose of this study is to synthesize various analytical approaches to Schoenberg's Drei Klavierstucke, Opus 11, into a comprehensive understanding of the work. As the first complete published work in an atonal idiom, this piece has been the focus of numerous disparate analytical techniques. This document attempts to combine a variety of traditional analytical methods (historical-stylistic and formal-descriptive perspectives) with non-traditional approaches based on pitch symbolism, Schoenberg's fascination with numerology, and an underlying correlation between the Opus 11 pieces and Wagner's Tristan Prelude. An examination of correspondence between Schoenberg and the pianist, conductor, and composer, Ferrucio Busoni provides further insight into the aesthetic of the Opus 11 pieces. The focus of the Schoenberg-Busoni letters is Opus 11, no. 2, which Busoni arranged in a concert transcription. While both men were seeking the common goal of a new means of musical expression, Busoni's criticisms of the composition are particularly interesting in light of his roots in nineteenth-century Romanticism. A discussion of editorial questions surrounding the Drei Klavierstucke, Opus 11, completes the synthesis of analytical approaches. A comparison of the manuscript, two Handexemplare, and the collected edition provides insight into questions of editorial responsibility and performance practice in the work.