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Verklärte nacht – Ultimate love

During the Opening Concert Zemlinsky’s poignant sounded love song Maiblumen blühten überall, play tonight
Amihai Grosz & friends a masterpiece by Zemlinsky’s pupil Schoenberg: Explained Night. Both compositions are inspired on poems by Richard Dehmel. Dvořáks sounds before the break uniquely occupied Terzetto and Mendelssohn’s contrasting Second piano trio starring master pianist Sunwook Kim.

The Terzetto in C major, an extremely original work for the unusual instrumentation of two violins and viola, was a gift for chemistry student Josef Kruis, who lived in the same building at the time lived in Prague as Antonín Dvořák. The composer himself would play the viola part and the second violin part was for Jan Pelikan, the violin teacher of Kruis and also a former colleague of Dvořák from the orchestra of the National Theater of Prague. Unfortunately, Dvořák had it student’s violin playing overrated. So he quickly wrote another one second piece for the same instrumentation with an extra simple first violin part, the so-called Drobnosti (four miniatures that Dvořák also would later arrange for violin and piano as Four Romantic Pieces). In a letter to his publisher, Dvořák talks enthusiastically about the two terzeten: “I am now writing small Bagatellen, imagine yourself: for two violins and viola – I enjoy them as much as I do write a great symphony (…). They are actually more for amateurs intended, but did not finish Beethoven and Schumann either worked with very modest means and how?” Dvořák works magic even with modest means, a unique sound world emerges, where the listener sometimes forgets that the cello part is missing. The Terzetto in C major is full of surprises: unexpected ones harmonic twists, compelling violin parts and impetuous rhythms. With a double role for the viola, which sometimes plays the bass but at least as often also imitates the solo violin parts or trumps.

The German composer Felix Mendelssohn, from a close-knit family and wealthy family, announced in 1832 in a letter to his sister Fanny that he “would like to write some good piano trios”. Although it took another seven years after that before he got to this one job began, he would realize his intention with great success. His two compelling piano trios are to this day beloved. Mendelssohn wrote the Second Piano Trio in C minor in 1845 and dedicated it to the famous violinist and composer Louis Spohr, with whom he played the work at least once. It contrasting piano trio – which is full of emotional outbursts but also with subdued, dreamy passages – consists of three equal parts, although the exuberant piano part may fall most up.

The Austro-Hungarian composer Arnold Schönberg was one of them the most influential composers of the twentieth century. He developed a new, atonal tone system (so-called twelve-tone music, where all twelve tones are equally important and where the music no longer has a fixed key). He wasn’t that far yet when he wrote Verklärte Nacht, opus 4 for string sextet in 1899, one of his best known and most accessible works. Schoenberg was inspired for this composition by the same name poem by Richard Dehmel (1863-1920), in which a woman during a gloomy night walk to her beloved she confesses is pregnant by another man. The man consoles her with words full of understanding and forgiveness. The power of love is so dark disappear (verklären), and the pair continue the walk in a fresh, clear night. Schönberg uses the same structure as Dehmel: In the second part, the woman has emotional outbursts her confession, in the fourth part the man speaks his loving words. The other parts outline the atmosphere: the moonlit forest, in which fear and guilt transform into love and hope. It is not easy to do these five parts, by the way recognize in the music, because Schönberg did not insert any breaks. Only with careful study of the score are the transitions to indicate exactly. But it also speaks without that knowledge music to the imagination, as is evident from the reaction of Dehmel in a letter from 1912: “I intended to be in your composition to look up my own words, but I was so gripped by the delightful music, that I completely forgot the lyrics.”