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Lyric Symphony

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Lyric Symphony

The Lyric Symphony, Op. 18, was composed by Alexander von Zemlinsky between 1922 and 1923 and received its premiere in Prague on June 4, 1924, under the composer's direction. It is Zemlinsky's best-known work.

The symphony is in seven connected movements, and is scored for baritone and soprano soloists in addition to a large orchestra. The sung texts are taken from The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagore in a German translation by Hans Effenberger.

The movements are:

  • Ich bin friedlos, ich bin durstig nach fernen Dingen ("I am restless. I am athirst for far-away things")
  • O Mutter, der junge Prinz ("O mother, the young Prince")
  • Du bist die Abendwolke ("You are the evening cloud")
  • Sprich zu mir Geliebter ("Speak to me, my love")
  • Befrei mich von den Banden deiner Süße, Lieb ("Release me from the bonds of your sweetness, Love")
  • Vollende denn das letzte Lied ("Then finish the last song")
  • Friede, mein Herz ("Peace, my heart")

Alban Berg quoted the third movement in his Lyric Suite for string quartet.

Instrumentation

harmonium, celesta, harp and strings. The work makes notable use of the glissando effect in both strings and trombones.

References

  • Text of the symphony
  • Text of the symphony with translations
  • Program notes to American Symphony Orchestra concert
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