Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis. Page: 26
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In the events leading up to "Mitternacht" (midnight), Faust is old, prosperous and living
in an opulent seaside palace. Faust, still unsatisfied, has turned formerly barren land at the edge
of the sea into blooming gardens and fields. Only Baucis' and Philemon's idyllic cottage and a
church stand in the way of Faust's completion of his project. Frustrated that the old couple has
refused his offers to buy the property he orders Mephistopheles and his henchmen to "get them
out of the way." The old couple resisted Mephistopheles' request for them to relocate so he
killed them and burnt their property. Standing alone on his balcony in distress over the deaths of
Baucis and Philemon, Faust believes that he sees four apparitions rising out of the smoke of the
recently burnt cottage.
In this scene the powers of the apparition Sorge (Care) are exerted and work in
opposition to Faust's and humankind's creative nature.26 Faust regrets his turn from Nature to
the dark arts and witchcraft and informs Sorge that he has abandoned the practice of magic.27
"Mitternacht" is made up of four contrasting musical sections; a quartet featuring the
voices of the four gray women, Faust's monologue, the dialogue between Faust and Sorge (Care)
and Faust's soliloquy.28 Schumann introduces the four women through a recurring motive
featuring an eighth note triplet figure in the strings. This motive appears again in the orchestra to
depict Sorge's entrance into Faust's palace. As in Scene 1, the musical unity is achieved by the
recurring motive in an otherwise through-composed piece, an example of Schumann's
compositional technique. This motive is the basis for Sorge's solo "Wen ich einmal mir besitze"
(when I once again possess) (see Figure 17).
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Paoletti Jr., Karl. Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis., dissertation, August 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9053/m1/32/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .