The work The happy hand (Die glückliche Hand, op. 18) is composed of a single act divided into four paintings, on a text written in 1909 by Schönberg himself. The dominant theme is certainly the desperate loneliness of the subject, who, despite the attempts, fails to change the external reality: this aspect of the work is certainly stressed by the presence on the scene of only one singing character. The happy hand, thus, tells the misery of man as main character, a failed hero, who pursues an illusory happiness.
The castle of prince Bluebeard, a one-act work on a libretto by Béla Balàzs composed in 1911, represents one of the masterpieces of Bartòk's first maturity. Influenced primarily by impressionism and partly by expressionism, which was in its early days, the castle of prince Bluebeard already presents one of Bartòk's deepest poetic motifs: that of mystery. Here what is mysterious, unfathomable, is the human soul, symbolised by the sinister castle of Bluebeard. Not even love manages to explore it if not by recognising the same sense of oblivion and annulment within a solipsistic, blind and totalitarian presence.
Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951) was an Austrian composer belonging to the current of musical expressionism. Typical works of this avant-garde are his works Erwartung (The wait) and Die glückliche Hand (The happy hand): the dominant theme of the subject's desperate loneliness is told through a form of “total” representation where sound, colour, word and action merge into a single perspective plane. Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók (1881-1945), Hungarian composer and pianist, traces the origins of his training first in the music of late romanticism (especially in Brahms, Wagner and R. Strauss), and later in his approach to the folklore of his own country. Among the first important compositions that accompanied his stylistic maturation, the one-act work A kékszakállú herceg vára (The castle of prince Bluebeard) and the Allegro Barbarian for piano are to be remembered.