Ernst Krenek

Fünf Lieder nach Worten von Franz Kafka, op.82

Facsimile of Ernst Krenek's autograph score

Faksimile der Originalhandschrift. Festgabe der Stadt Wien zum 85. Geburtstag des Komponisten. Herausgegeben von der Wiener Stadt- und Landesbibliothek

Special presentation gift issued by the Wiener Stadt- & Landesbibliothekon the occasion of 85th birthday of the composer

Vienna, 1985. Format: 4°, oblong, 9 pp of facsimile (in insert), 10 drawings and photographs mounted in passe-partout, 7 line-cut illustrations and 24 pp of text

Krenek, Fünf Lieder, 1 

Krenek, Fünf Lieder, 2
       portrait by Oskar Kokoschka, 1931

Beautiful full-color halftone of the autograph in the original loose sheet format, issued on the occasion of the composer’s 85th birthday. Written in 1937-1938 on a ship crossing the Atlantic and in a hotel room in the United States, the songs represent a sort of protocoll of his American exil, closely linked to the song texts. Krenek chose five aphoristic texts from Kafka, which vary from uncertain resignation and longing for death, apocalyptic visions and one characterized by Kafkaesque paradoxes. The titles are:
Nur ein Wort
Kämpfte er nicht genugt?
Noch spielen die Jagdhunde
Du kannst dich zurückhalten
Ach, was wird uns hier bereitet

        Krenek, Fünf Lieder, 3
Mt. San Gorgorio, April 1958 (watercolor)

The strict 12-tone style is handled with virtuoso flair and wit with a "fragmentary" element  producing an effect of sadness and unhappiness. Krenek subtly integrates the different appearances of the row with the structure of the text, elevating the meaning of the text on the level of the music, which goes far beyond the underlying musical expressivity.

Fine bibliophile edition organized like an album, richly iIllustrated with reproductions, including a drawing by Kochoshska, a bust by Günter Pöll, various portrait photos, caricatures, and 3 watercolors by Krenek, many handsomely mounted in passe-partout. Printed by Seyss Reproducktionen. Not available commercially. Printed on light grey and dark blue laid paper; hardbound in silver cloth boards, with embossed signature of the composer.

see listing of other 20th-century works
listen to recording of "Ach, was wird uns hier bereitet"
 (performed by Maria Palaska & Kertin Mörk)

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