I feel the air of another planet
The friendly faces that were turned toward me
but lately, now are fading into darkness
The trees and paths I knew and loved so well
are barely visible, and you
Beloved and radiant specter- cause of all my anguish
You are wholly dimmed within a deeper glow,
whence, now that strife and tumult cease, there
comes the soothing tremor of a sacred awe.
. . .
**This translation is by Carl Engel and was Schoenberg’s preferred version.
The fourth movement in this quartet is based around Entrückung, another poem by Stefan Georg. It is especially significant in that it strays the farthest from traditional tonality, lacking a key signature and presenting a sort of hybrid atonal, triadic, and tonal language. Entrückung can be roughly translated to mean ‘transport’ or ‘rapture,’ and Schoenberg described the
introduction as “depicting the departure from earth to another planet . . . becoming relieved from gravitation- passing through clouds into thinner and thinner air- forgetting all the troubles of life on earth . . .” The poem is in tripartite form and is mirrored by the music in terms of meaning and structure, presenting three different ‘states’ of transport
I made three prints based on the fourth movement, each depicting one of the three sections of the poem. The first section alludes to the existence of a divine power and the start of the release from earth’s physical bounds. This print is straightforward, illustrating the fading trees and paths, the fading shadow of the specter, and the overwhelming presence of the deeper glow; the sacred awe; the beginning of the ascent.