Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2007





Publication Title

The Journal of Musicology


This article explores the role of memory within Schoenberg's Gedanke Manuscripts and its musical encoding in A Survivor From Warsaw, his 1947 Holocaust cantata. In the Gedanke Manuscripts human memory serves as analogy for the connective processes that aid the listener in comprehending and identifying the musical idea. Schoenberg argues that a musical idea is recognized (erkennt), retained, and then re-recognized (wiedererkennt) by the listener in a process similar to that of memory. These comments form the basis for an analysis that demonstrates the patterning of Survivor's 12-tone rows according to such mnemonic principles. The encoding of memory in the narrator's testimony as well as in the musical structure suggests that memory functions as an overriding poetic idea that holds several implications for evaluations of the cantata's musical and religious significance within Schoenberg's corpus.


Published as: Wlodarski, Amy Lynn. “'An Idea Can Never Perish': Memory, the Musical Idea, and Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw (1947).” Journal of Musicology 24, no. 4 (2007): 581-608.
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