Pre-concet talk18:15-18:35, Tapiola Hall
Kimmo korhonen introduces the concert.
Pianist Alexander Melnikov, who has collaborated with the Tapiola Sinfonietta for a long time, returns to Espoo with violinist Isabelle Faust. The two are known worldwide for the intensity of their performances. The programme of Berg and Schönberg is conducted by the inspiring and energetic Rafael Payare.
NOTE: Fugue (Ricercar à 6 voci) is not in the programme.
Duo Melnikov & Faust is playing chamber music on Sunday 13.12.2020 7 pm, Sello Hall at the concert Moments III: Melnikov & Faust. Tickets 15/10 €, Lippupiste
The program is subject to change.
We kindly ask you to check up-to-date information: Special arrangements in Autumn 2020
Kimmo korhonen introduces the concert.
“Alban Berg is the best thing that Arnold Schönberg has created,” Sibelius once said, half in jest. He was alluding to the close teacher-student relationship between Schönberg and Berg and also Berg’s status as the most popular composer of the Schönberg-led Second Viennese School. Berg studied with Schönberg for about five years (1905 to 1910), and they remained close friends thereafter. One of the monuments to this friendship is Berg’s Chamber Concerto for piano, violin and winds. He began work on this in 1923, after completing his masterful opera Wozzeck, and his plan was to complete it by Schönberg’s 50th birthday in the following year. In the event, he did not complete the work until the year after that, coincidentally on his own 40th birthday on 9 February 1925.
In the same year that Berg began his Chamber Concerto, Schönberg completed his first work employing the radical twelve-tone technique that he had developed. Berg learned of the technique in early 1923 but did not yet use it in the Chamber Concerto. He never took dodecaphony fully on board thereafter; he used the technique with greater liberties than Schönberg or the latter’s other star pupil, Anton Webern. Nevertheless, Berg’s Chamber Concerto is rather severe in tone and not as overtly emotional as many of his other major works, such as the Three Pieces for Orchestra, the Lyrical Suite, the Violin Concerto or his operas Wozzeck and Lulu.
The Chamber Concerto has three movements but is to be performed without a break. Its first measures introduce mottos devised, as far as German pitch names would allow, from the names of Arnold Schönberg (A-D-Es-C-H-B-E-G), Anton Webern (A-E-B-E) and Alban Berg (A-B-A-B-E-G). This introduction is followed by a scherzoso theme with five variations. The middle movement is an extensive slow movement, and the work concludes with a vivacious ‘Rondo ritmico con introduzione’. The piano is a prominent soloist in the first movement, the violin in the second, and both in the finale.
Late in 1897, the early String Quartet in D major of the hitherto unknown 23-year-old composer Arnold Schönberg was premiered in Vienna. The newcomer appeared to be a full-blooded Romantic of the Brahmsian persuasion, and the city’s most influential critic Eduard Hanslick declared that “a new Mozart seems to be growing up in Vienna”. He could hardly have been aware of the Pandora’s Box that he was opening. Schönberg went on to develop into one of the most radical reformers of Western music ever to have lived, abandoning tonal keys and developing the modernist twelve-tone technique in the 1920s.
Schönberg completed the string sextet Verklärte Nacht in autumn 1899. It is still firmly grounded in Schönberg’s early Romantic period, but there are already indications of things to come. The work met with huge resistance and was not performed until 1902. The Tonkünstlerverein in Vienna, the society that had organised the premiere of Schönberg’s String Quartet, initially refused to programme the work at all; one of its members observed that it “sounded like someone smeared the score of Tristan and Isolde while the ink was still wet”. Today, Verklärte Nacht is Schönberg’s most frequently performed work, in the versions that he himself arranged for string orchestra (1917 and 1944).
Verklärte Nacht is in a single movement and was inspired by a poem by Richard Dehmel. In the poem, a woman confesses to a man that she is pregnant from her previous relationship, but the man says that with the power of their love, the child will become theirs. There are five stanzas in the poem, and the music is structured similarly.
The work is dense in counterpoint and flowing with emotion in a late Romantic vein, brimming with sensitivity, power and intensity. A continuum of passionate culminations and pools of tranquillity lead from the opening D minor representing the woman’s confession through tempestuous feelings and a funereal march to a serene D major for the man’s response. The work concludes in bliss as “two people walk through the lofty, bright night”.
Isabelle Faust, violin
Alexander Melnikov, piano
Béla Bartók: Sonata nr 1