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PUBLISHER: Schott

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Dreimal tausend Jahre," op. 50A, sets a short lyric poem from the "Jordan Lieder" by Dagobert Runes. The second of the series Opus 50 uses the original Hebrew of Psalm 130, the "De Profundis"; while the third is bases on Schönberg's own text, the first of sixteen short "psalms" written during the last ten months of his life. Between 29 September 1950 and 3 July 1951 Schönberg drafted the texts of "Modern Psalms," which formulate his deeply religious thoughts in the form of a multi-faceted personal address to God in paraphrases of the Old Testament psalms. The composer had entitled each of the individual texts either "Psalm" or "Modern Psalm" and given them the collective title of "Modern Psalms," presumably with the intention of setting them to music; at the time of his death (on 13 July 1951), however, he had composed music only for the first text, now simply referred to as "Modern Psalm," op. 50C. Schönberg related the full title of his work-in-progress to Oskar Adler in a letter dated 23 April 1951: "Psalms, Prayers and other Discourses with and about God." The text for op. 50C ("O, you my God: all people praise you") encompasses both direct address to God as well as discourse about God, just as the title related to Adler describes. Schönberg composed eighty-six measures of music for this text, music whose texture alternates between a Speaker (using "Sprechstimme" or "speaking voice") and a six-voice chorus, accompanied by orchestra.

© Arnold Schönberg Center