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Teraoka, Arlene Akiko. Vormweg, Heinrich. Weber, Carl. Wieghaus, Georg. Heiner Muller. Miinchen: Beck, The story opens with an archtypical experience of the divergence of an individual's private thoughts from the purpose and presence of his social setting: Gustl is day-dreaming at a concert. As the story pro- ceeds, Gustl's defenseless mind reveals to the reader a rather desper- ate conformist.

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His dilemma is troubling not because of the clash of personal and social demands, but because he too readily appropriates the behavior code of the Austrian officer corps. In Gustl Schnitzler has realized one of our worst fears: that if ever we are totally known, guard down, no chance to hide or pose, we will not be accepted. It is perhaps surprising that such an unsavory character has attained the status of a representative figure: For Swales, Gustl "bleibt nach wie vor ein beispielhafter Sprecher fur das Ethos der osterreichischen Armee" , '; Laermann goes further, deeming him "eine Leit- figur der Epoche" 11 1.

As the twice-intoned Oratorium actually brackets the bulk of Gustl's monologue, so the oratorio also provides the ideological framework for evaluating Gustl's mental life. Schnitzler's use of the oratorio is, however, complex: it helps us to see how greatly the model of human nature implicit in Gustl shrinks from the powerfully optimistic biblical conception of suffering and salva- tion; yet Schnitzler does not uncritically advance the oratorio's Chris- tian salvific ideology as viable for contemporary culture.

He is more concerned to problematize mutually incompatible currents in Austri- an culture, to call upon culture to testify against itself. First we will review the textual evidence of the oratorio, survey its historical development, and discover its genesis in Catholic spirituality. Next, we will note the significance of the Lenten setting, as well as the actual oratorio Gustl cites by quoting its final chorus.

We will then see more clearly Gustl's fundamental alienation from the oratorio's ethical mandates, meditative possibilities, and from its ecclesiastical and aes- thetic setting. Finally, we will see the oratorio in its decadent dimen- sion, i. Weiner argues that "Schnitzler's works portray music not simply as an aesthetic phenomenon, but as a cipher for social tensions; they show how the art subtly reflects and even underscores the social forces and structures within which it is received" This insightful starting point is, however, unnecessarily restricted by the application of Ador- no's theory of art as a record of and compensation for class tensions 62f.

It will not do, however, merely to label Gustl a "culture con- sumer" in passing. The criticism of culture in Leutnant Gustl arises not primarily from Gustl's "extra-esthetic" reception of the oratorio, but from his almost total non-reception of both the ideological content and its aesthetic vehicle, while simultaneously invoking a Catholic ideolog- ical veneer as an officer in the Austrian army.

But Gustl himself foregrounds the oratorio, even if he doesn't much enjoy it, and Hnks it to the church he later visits. Gustl makes numerous references to the oratorio while at the concernt, but not all are explicit. This is congruent with the fiction of the monologic speaker or thinker , who, after all, is reflecting on reacting to events, rather than reporting them.

Nevertheless, Gustl's references to the oratorio, even if indirect, give us useful information. Despite his boredom "Geduld! Ja, applaudieren wir mit" Even in his complaint, "dass ich dasitz' und mir stundenlang vorlamentieren muss" , Gustl assists our orientation. The lamentations of the Hebrew Bible Old Testament provided typical oratorio texts, even when they were applied to the New Testament drama of Jesus.

And Gustl's appraisal of the oratorio as "edifying" "erhebend" , and as a notch above the opera , represents the commonplace conception of the oratorio's status and function. Later Gustl identifies the organ music from the Fruhmesse: "Woran erinnert mich denn nur die Melodic? Heiliger Himmel! Gustl provides a further verbal link between the concert and the church visit in using the term "Andacht" both to designate the rapt attention of the concert-goer and the prayerful attitude of an old woman at early mass. He is at the concert, after all, by accident: his girlfriend had another rendezvous, he cannot afford to gamble due to his outstanding debt to Ballert , and his sole friend, Kopetzky, hap- pened to have an extra ticket for the concert.

Furthermore, Gustl is thoroughly bored, and is much more occupied with his upcoming duel scheduled to take place the following afternoon , and with ogling pretty girls at the concert than he is with the musical selection. Simi- larly, Gustl's brief church visit reveals no explicit apprehension of the oratorio beyond the brief notice quoted above.


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The oratorio and the spiritual-contemplative possibilities it celebrates remain peripheral to Gustl's consciousness in both cases; thus they do not present any dra- matic conflict to the protagonist. This is in concert with the general structure of the novella: if one can speak of development at all in connection with this story, it must be sought in the mind of the reader rather than in the hero Zenke It dates back to the sixteenth century, to the time of St.

Philip Neri , who wanted to introduce music into his popular spiritual exercises. Philip felt that harmonic music would assist in the medita- tion of higher things. In his Rule he provided "that the fathers together with the faithful should rouse themselves to the contemplation of heavenly things by means of musical harmony" NCE Francesco Tarugi, a member of PhiHp's Congregation of the Oratory, remarked that the spiritual exercises included "always by the grace of God musica excellente without the singers being paid or asked to come.

And to him who lends an ear and an attentive heart, the holy Word of God enters marvelously into the soul with the harmony and sweetness of the music" qtd. Trevor Philip himself, in a report to the pope, noted that "by inserting the pleasure of spiritual music" the exercises attained immense popularity qtd.

Smither ; indeed, thousands attended these services. The oratorio was also assigned a didactic, rather tangible task: "Die musikalische Vorstellung tugendhafter Hand- lungen und abschreckender Beispiele sollte dazu beitragen, die Glau- bigen zu bessern und sie fur die Werke der Busse und Nachstenliebe bereit zu machen" Riemann Vienna enjoyed a special prominence in the history of the oratorio: Emperor Leopold I, who composed many oratorios, including the one first performed in the capital city, along with oratorio-patrons Joseph I and Charles VI , helped to make Vienna "The most prominent centre of oratorio cultivation in Roman Catholic Ger- man speaking areas One particularly Viennese type, the sepolcro, focused, as its name suggests, on the events of the Passion.

Its setting was ecclesiastical, and "the principal element of the scenery was the holy sepulchre of Christ, which was usually erected in the choir of the court chapel of Eleonora and in the main court chapel, Hofburgkapelle" Grove ; cf. Smither More so than today, the cycle of church feasts and fasts imbued the pre- World War I Austrian calendar and mind-set.

Meaning of "Berta" in the German dictionary

Though seculariza- tion was well underway philosophically and in the politics of its north- ern neighbors, the Doppelmonarchie remained an officially Catholic state whose emperor-king rested on the twin pillars of church and army. Until the end of his reign, Franz Joseph I invoked on public occasions his official title as "Seine Apostolische Majestat" and celebrated the alliance of throne and altar by marching through the streets of Vienna in the annual Corpus Christi procession Johnston 33, plate f.

Contemporary readers, then, would have understood the significance of the dates of the story's events. Gustl twice places himself in the night from the fourth to the fifth of April. For the readers of the Christmas edition of the Neue Freie Presse, in which the story first ap- peared, this would have placed the concert visit on the evening of Holy or Maundy Thursday, the church's commemoration of Jesus' Last Supper. Gustl's self-designated suicide day would fall on Good Friday, the rituahstic commemoration of the crucifixion. Gustl says: "Mor- gen ist mein Todestag — fiinfter April" While this precise corre- spondence would not hold if we, instead, considered the liturgical year in which Schnitzler wrote Gustl when Easter fell on April 15 , the dates of Gustl's troubles would still fall within the time of Lent, not far tem- porally from the chmax in Easter Sunday.


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  • The Lenten setting, which is still the oratorio's main per- formance season, invokes an ideological backdrop which throws Gustl's monologue into stark relief. Near the end of the performance Gustl repeats to himself the words he hears and decides, apparently with the aid of the program, that this is the final chorus: " 'Ihr seine Engel, lobet den Herrn'.

    Translation of «Berta» into 25 languages

    Urbach has discovered the actual oratorio which concludes in this manner: it is Felix Mendelsohn- Bartholdy's "Paulus — Oratorium nach Worten der heiligen Schrift," Op. Still, it is uncertain whether Schnitzler meant thereby to cite this specific work, or merely to indicate a well-worn type; for while the music connoisseur may have properly identified the piece, and those familiar with the bible might have recognized the source of the Schlufichor as Psalm , such expertise would not have been, and is not, required to appreciate Schnitzler's use of the genre. A very com- mon oratorio theme of the Lenten season is a Passion, a piece which recalls Jesus' public ministry, arrest, suffering and death, and antici- pates the Easter joy.

    Mendelsohn-Bartholdy's Paulus, taken largely from the Acts of the Apostles, presents the "passion" of Saints Stephen and Paul as closely paralleled to that of Jesus. It is a musical celebration of Stephen's and Paul's imitatio Chhsti; thus fully in the. Gustl's inattentiveness renders it impossible to know precisely what is being sung on stage. It is Gustl's very indifference which gives rise to the sense of extreme cultural tension: the profile of a duel-happy, lascivious and lonely lieutenant takes shape over against the season in which the church celebrates redemptive history, when she sings her song of salvation.

    Translation of «Berta» into 25 languages

    The Oratorium rings with the promise of human growth, divine aid, reconciliation and victory over death, but its mes- sage is lost on the lieutenant. Sitting in the concert hall, Gustl heard these lines intoned repeatedly in the oratorio's longest passage' ': "Mache dich auf! Werde Licht! Denn dein Licht kommt, und die Her- rhchkeit des Herrn gehet auf iiber dir" Mendelsohn-Bartholdy Though Gustl's characterization undoubtedly follows from a series of self-indicting "Dementis" Jager and from a process of "Selb- stentlarvung" Zenke 75 , it also results from his clash with the oratorio ideals which resonate on the periphery of his cogitations.

    Gustl's dis- tance from the oratorio is indicated first of all by his unfamiliarity with its religious and aesthetic forms: he can't distinguish it from a Mass without the assistance of the program , nor can he identify confidently the soprano voice. As a sol- dier and a not infrequent dueler, Gustl is a dealer in death.

    And though he seems well aware that his own life is at stake "Ja, iibermorgen bin ich vielleicht schon eine tote Leiche" [] , Gustl remains deaf to the biblical story of redemption, to the Christian assurance of a conquest of death sung all around him. Gustl misses the decisive military action of yesteryear.

    He longingly recalls the occupation of Bosnia and hopes to participate in a simi- lar campaign. Lacking this, Gustl finds a peace-time opportunity to enact his aggression: the duel. Shortly after we break into his thoughts during the concert, Gustl reflects on the upcoming duel: "Warten S'nur, Herr Doktor! Dich hau' ich zu Krenfleisch" Could there be a more flagrant contrast between this naked aggression and the humane values of forgiveness, love of neighbor and redemptive suffer- ing which the oratorio espouses?

    Apart from the specific ethical or doctrinal content, what about the mode of mental operations? What of the meditative calm and contem- plative peace which Philip Neri and his successors hoped to spawn with the oratorio-harmonies? Gustl's intention as he hectically wanders through the Prater is "mir doch endlich einmal die Geschichte [zu] uberlegen" Just as he begins to confess fear, Gustl activates this censorial self-address: "Fehlt nur noch, dass du zum Weinen anfangst.

    It is the reader, rather than Gustl, who attains a measure of transcendence.