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Encyclopedia > A Survivor from Warsaw

A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. 46 is a work for narrator, men's chorus, and orchestra written by the Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg in 1947. The initial inspiration for the work was a suggestion from the Russian emigrée dancer Corinne Chochem for a work to pay tribute to the Jewish victims of the German Third Reich. While the collaboration between Chochem and Schönberg did not come to fruition, Schönberg continued to developed the idea for such a work independently. He then received a letter from the Koussevitzsky Music Foundation for a commission for an orchestral work. Schönberg then decided to fulfill this commission with this tribute work. He wrote the work from 11 August 1947 to 23 August 1947.[1] The Narrator is the entity within a story that tells the story to the reader. ... A refrain (from the Old French refraindre to repeat, likely from Vulgar Latin refringere) is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the chorus of a song. ... For the song titled Orchestra, see The Servant (band). ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Arnold Schoenberg, Los Angeles, 1948 For the American music critic and journalist, see Harold Charles Schonberg. ...

Because of the connection of the Koussevitzsky Foundation and the conductor Serge Koussevitzsky with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it was presumed at the time that the Boston Symphony and Koussevitzsky would give the premiere. However, Kurt Frederick, conductor of the Albuquerque Civic Symphony Orchestra, had heard about this new work, and wrote to Schönberg to ask for permission to give the premiere. Schönberg agreed, and stipulated that in lieu of a performance fee, he asked that the New Mexico musicians prepare a full set of orchestral and choral parts and send those to him. The premiere was originally scheduled for 7 September 1948, but did not occur until 4 November 1948 in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the University of New Mexico.[1] Kurt Frederick conducted the Albuquerque Civic Symphony Orchestra, with Sherman Smith as the narrator. In between the two dates of the scheduled and actual premiere, Koussevitzsky had heard of the request from Albuquerque, and approved of the situation.[1] The Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the worlds premiere orchestras. ... This article is about the largest city of New Mexico. ... Capital Santa Fe Largest city Albuquerque Largest metro area Albuquerque metropolitan area Area  Ranked 5th  - Total 121,665 sq mi (315,194 km²)  - Width 342 miles (550 km)  - Length 370 miles (595 km)  - % water 0. ...

The work lasts a little more than 6 minutes. Richard S. Hill published a contemporary analysis of Schoenberg's use of twelve-tone rows in this composition.[2] Jacques-Louis Monod prepared a definitive edition of the score, which was published in 1979.[3] Beat A. Föllmi has published a detailed analysis of the narrative of A Survivor from Warsaw.[4]



The narration depicts the story of a survivor from the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War, from his time in a concentration camp. The narrator does not remember how he ended up living in the Warsaw sewers. One day, in the camp, the Nazi authorities held a roll call of a group of Jews. The group tried to assemble, but there was confusion, and the guards beat the old and ailing Jews who could not line up quickly enough. Those Jews left on the ground were presumed to be dead, and the guards asked for another count, to see how many would be deported to the death camps. The guards ask for a faster and faster head count, and the work culminates as the Jews begin to sing the prayer Shema Yisroel. Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of the Jewish ghettos established by Nazi Germany in Warsaw, former capital of Poland in the General Government during the Holocaust in World War II. Between 1941 and 1943, starvation, disease and deportations to concentration camps and... Shema Yisrael (שמע ישראל) are the first two words of a section of the Hebrew Bible that is used as a centerpiece of all morning and evening Jewish prayer services and closely echoes the monotheistic message of Judaism. ...


  • Columbia SBRG 72119-20: CBC Symphony Orchestra; Robert Craft, conductor[5]

Robert Lawson Craft (October 20th, 1923 - ) is an American conductor and writer on music best known for his intimate working friendship with Igor Stravinsky, a relationship which has resulted in a number of recordings and books. ...


  1. ^ a b c Michael Strasser, "A Survivor from Warsaw as Personal Parable" (February 1995). Music & Letters, 76 (1): pp. 52-63.
  2. ^ Richard S. Hill, "Music Reviews: A Survivor from Warsaw, for Narrator, Men's Chorus, and Orchestra by Arnold Schoenberg" (December 1949). Notes (2nd Ser.), 7 (1): pp. 133-135.
  3. ^ Richard G. Swift, Review of newly revised edition of Arnold Schoenberg, A Survivor from Warsaw (September 1980). MLA Notes, 37 (1): p. 154.
  4. ^ Beat A. Föllmi, "I Cannot Remember Ev'rything". Eine narratologische Analyse von Arnold Schönbergs Kantate "A Survivor from Warsaw" op. 46" (1998). Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, Jahrgang LV (Heft 1): pp. 28-56 (article in German).
  5. ^ Edward Greenfield, "Gramophone Records" (review of Schoenberg, Complete Works, Vol. 1) (1963). The Musical Times, 104 (1448): p. 714.


  • Offergeld, Robert. Beethoven - Symphony no. 9 - Schoenberg - A Survivor from Warsaw, included booklet. BMG Classics 09026-63682-2, New York, 2000.
  • Schoenberg, Arnold. Style and Idea. University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1984. ISBN 0-520-05294-3

External links

  • A Survivor from Warsaw at Schoenberg.org
  • Annotatable Elektronic Interactive Oesterreich Universal Information System Website - Includes history, full text, tone row and analysis



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