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Sun, Jan. 28, 2024, 11.00 am | Elbphilharmonie, Recital Hall

3rd Chamber Concert

Zemlinsky, Richard Strauss, Schönberg

Alexander Zemlinsky: "Maiblumen blühten überall" for soprano and string sextet

Richard Strauss: "Metamorphoses" realization of the "original version" for string sextet by Rudolf Leopold

Arnold Schoenberg: "Transfigured Night String sextet op. 4

Claire Gascoin
Sebastian Deutscher
Mette Tjærby Korneliusen
Maria Rallo Muguruza
Thomas Rühl
Clara Grünwald
Merlin Schirmer
Doublebass: Felix von Werder

"Everything is new in May", is the motto of the 3rd Chamber Concert already in January: all signs point to change, transformation and progress. Alexander Zemlinsky is probably best known to us as an opera composer, but the works of his youth reveal a decadence of Sturm und Drang, especially in chamber music. Thus, in his "Maiblumen blühen überall" ("May Flowers Bloom Everywhere"), which remained unfinished, one finds not only the fervent melancholy and burning death wish of the Fin de Siècle, but also the desire of a young musician for the world. Richard Strauss, on the other hand, wrote "Metamorphoses" at a completely different point in his life: at the age of 81, he felt the creeping shadows of death approaching. This composition is one of Strauss' most important late works and was written during a time of horror. First notes can be dated back to summer 1944, when death and destruction were omnipresent. "Metamorphoses," not variations, is what the composer called the piece, which is divided into three parts, in which themes are almost imperceptibly transformed, revisited and reshaped as they progress. The goal of the change is revealed shortly before the end: Strauss quotes the beginning of the funeral march from Beethoven's "Eroica" and writes to it: "In memoriam". The work thus becomes a lament for the world and for life itself. Arnold Schoenberg also found significant final words in music, albeit in an entirely different historical context. In 1899, he composed the string sextet "Verklärte Nacht" (Transfigured Night) and thus, in a sense, found an end to the 19th century. The work provoked the most violent reactions at its premiere in Vienna in 1902; according to Schönberg, it was "hissed out and caused unrest and fistfights." Thus, this example shows very clearly how times and tastes change, for today the "Verklärte Nacht" ranks among the most beautiful of string literature, an intoxicating piece of turn-of-the-century music.

Venue: Elbphilharmonie, Recital Hall, Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4, 20457 Hamburg
Prices: € 28,00 / 20,00 / 14,00 / 10,00

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