What gleams must be good: Reading Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron

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Arnold Schoenberg’s opera, Moses und Aron, is widely lauded as his greatest achievement. The opera retells two major scenes from the Exodus traditions: Moses’ call from the burning bush (Exodus 3–4) and the golden calf incident (Exodus 32). Through this operatic retelling, Schoenberg develops the relationship between brothers Moses and Aaron. The composer’s version of the story heightens the differences between the brothers, both through the changes and additions he makes to the biblical story, and in the way he presents the brothers musically. This article therefore explores the characterisation of Moses and Aaron (Aron) in Schoenberg's opera with reference to its libretto and music.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages15
JournalThe Bible and Critical Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019


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