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The Five Orchestral Songs (German: Fünf Orchesterlieder, nach Ansichtkarten-Texten von Peter Altenberg), Op. 4, for medium voice and orchestra, were composed by Alban Berg in 1911/12. Numbers 2 and 3 were premiered under the baton of Berg's teacher Arnold Schoenberg at the Vienna Musikverein on 31 March 1913,[1] known as the Skandalkonzert for the riot that erupted during Berg's songs.

Altenberg Lieder
Orchestral songs by Alban Berg
WP Alban Berg.jpg
The composer, sketched by Emil Stumpp in 1927
Native nameFünf Orchesterlieder, nach Ansichtkarten-Texten von Peter Altenberg
CatalogueOp. 4
Text"picture-postcard texts" by Peter Altenberg
Performed31 March 1911 (1911-03-31)
  • medium voice
  • orchestra

The texts are taken from picture-postcard texts ('Ansichtskartentexte' in German) by the contemporary Viennese poet Peter Altenberg (hence the more commonly used title Altenberg Lieder). The texts deal with the stormy but beautiful condition of the soul, and the palpable sensations of love and longing.

Berg's setting is for a large orchestra. The music has many displaced ostinati and the conflicted, lyrical passion found in much of Berg's works.



The five songs are:[2]

  1. Seele, wie bist du schöner (Soul, how much more beautiful are you)
  2. Sahst du nach dem Gewitterregen den Wald? (Did you see the forest after the rainstorm?)
  3. Über die Grenzen des Alls (Beyond the boundaries of the universe)
  4. Nichts ist gekommen (Nothing has come)
  5. Hier ist Friede (Here is peace)


The work is scored for medium voice (mezzo-soprano) and a large orchestra consisting of:[2]


  1. ^ "Almanacco 31 March 1913" (in Italian). AmadeusOnline. Archived from the original on 2014-08-05. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Alban Berg – 5 Orchesterlieder op. 4 for medium voice and orchestra". Universal Edition. Retrieved 3 November 2010.

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