Comparing Henckell's Winterweihe And Freiligrathn

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Karl Friedrich Henckell’s (1864-1929) poem “Winterweihe” was set by Richard Strauss as “Winterweihe” op. 48 no. 4 in 1900 and by Arnold Schoenberg as “In diesen Wintertagen” op. 14 no. 2 in 1908 . The setting by Strauss was published in 1904 and according to Iris Pfeiffer from the Arnold Schönberg Center it is possible that his setting inspired Schönberg to set the poem himself, as this text, unlike many poems by Richard Dehmel and Stefan George, cannot be found among the texts in Schönberg’s library.
Influenced by Ferdinand Freiligrath and Georg Herwegh, Henckell wrote poetry with socialistic tendencies and was convinced his poems could change social circumstances. In order to disseminate his poems, some of which were forbidden in Germany
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8-10) explores the delicacy and gentleness of the emotion and emphasises the general mystical mood. The feeling is something that unites souls “zart” (tenderly). Here again, Schönberg changed a word, possibly by accident. This time, the change in meaning is subtler, as the two words can almost be used synonymously. “Verbünden” (to ally, to unite) is perhaps stronger in meaning as it implies an effort and a goal, whereas “verbinden” (to connect) implies a possible passiveness. According to the ninth verse, the connection is not only between souls, but also between minds or spirits. The emotion, the inner light of the first stanza, lies the foundation for “Geisterbrücken”. The neologism appears ambiguous to the modern reader who at first might think of haunted bridges as the word “Geist” means both “ghost” and “wit” or “mind” and is normally not used in the plural form “Geister” for the latter. The connecting quality of the “bridge” is emphasised by the length of the word which is one of only two tetrasyllables in the whole poem. The tenth verse conveys the intimacy of the connection one more time. The emotion, that until now has not been named directly and only been insinuated through images, shall be their “leises Losungswort”. The alliteration and the ambiguity of “Losungswort”, meaning both “password” and “motto”, emphasise the mystical secrecy. Schönberg omitted the adjective, thus removing the extra foot from the tenth verse that characterises the end of each stanza, and reducing the mysteriousness of the
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