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Jewish IdentitiesNationalism, Racism, and Utopianism in Twentieth-Century Music$
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Klara Moricz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520250888

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520250888.001.0001

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Torsos and Abstractions

Torsos and Abstractions

“Music in Its Promised Land”

(p.222) Chapter 7 Torsos and Abstractions
Jewish Identities

Kálra Móricz

University of California Press

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

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