Fanfare for a Bowl Concert on Motifs of Die Gurrelieder

From Wind Repertory Project
Arnold Schenberg

Arnold Schoenberg (ed. Leonard Stein)

This work also appears under the title Fanfare on motifs of Die Gurrelieder.

General Info

Year: 1945 / 1986
Duration: c. 1:45
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Belmont
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00


Full Score
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Military Drum
  • Suspended cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Arnold Schoenberg’s Fanfare on Motifs of “Die Gurrelieder” is a work that reflects two points in Schoenberg’s career, neither of which – ironically -- are particularly influenced by serialism, the trait which most listeners associate with the composer. The source material for the fanfare is the cantata Gurrelieder, a work massive both in length and orchestration. Schoenberg began composing this tripartite work, influenced strongly by the late operas of Richard Wagner (particularly Götterdämmerung), in 1900 and didn’t complete the orchestrations until 1911. The score also carries the compositional influence of Richard Strauss, who evaluated early sketches at the composer’s request, and of Schoenberg’s friend and contemporary, Gustav Mahler.

Gurrelieder was a tremendous success -- perhaps more so than any work in Schoenberg’s career until that point -- and has remained in the orchestral repertoire. It was championed notably by Leopold Stokowski, whose 1932 performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra were issued as recordings on the RCA label. Naturally, in 1945 when Stokowski asked Schoenberg for a fanfare to open a program at the Hollywood Bowl, he returned to Gurrelieder as his inspiration and put together a work for brass and percussion based entirely on three motives from Part III of the cantata.

The first two motives emerge from the song Erwacht, König Waldemars Mannen wert! in which King Waldemar, condemned to wander the Earth eternally, summons forth his undead vassals and rides as a terror through the night sky. This is a contrast to the final motive, from the concluding Seht die Sonne, in which the narrator describes the transfiguration of death into life by the power of nature and the rising sun.

The ambitious project proved too much for the ill Schoenberg, however, and he was unable to complete the work in time for the performances. The score for the fanfare, though eventually nearly completed by Schoenberg (the last several measures were never orchestrated by the composer), disappeared and remained unperformed in his lifetime. It was rediscovered in 1977, in time to be completed and performed for the opening of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at the University of Southern California.

- Program Note from Baylor University Wind Ensemble concert program, 29 March 2021


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas State University (San Marcos) Wind Symphony (Chase Failing, conductor) - 6 May 2021
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Wind Ensemble (Eric Wilson, conductor) - 29 March 2021
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 26 March 2019
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor) – 12 March 2019
  • Missouri State University (Springfield) Wind Ensemble (John Zastoupil, conductor) – 26 September 2017
  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (J. Eric Wilson, conductor) – 21 March 2013 (CBDNA 2013 National Conference, Greensboro, N.C.)
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Stephen W. Pratt, conductor) – 27 February 2010 (CBDNA 2010 North Central Division Conference, Normal, Ill.)

Works for Winds by This Composer