Summary

This article discusses several aspects of Schoenberg’s opera Moses und Aron. The main focus, however, is the question as to whether the unrepresentable, the absolute, or God, can be represented. The author reaches the conclusion that it cannot (a view shared by Adorno, Lyotard and Kerling), although God is to be heard (as many voices). In Moses und Aron, Schoenberg takes what might be called the problem of representation to its limits. It follows that, since the opera is a fragment, it is a necessary fragment, a “fulfilled fragment”. The article draws on Schoenberg’s own writings and a selection of books and articles from the vast literature on Schoenberg’s opera. Of special importance in contending with the text of the opera and Schoenberg’s intervention in the Biblical text, including the figure of Moses, is Jan Assmann’s article “Die Mosaische Unterscheidung in Schönberg’s ‘Moses und Aron’” (2005).

Keywords: Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, Moses und Aron and its interpretations, music and religion, music and text, opera as a sacral fragment