Sunday, March 15, 2009

Transfigured Night

A trip last night to hear the Northern Chamber Orchestra their soloists performing the Beethoven Serenade for flute, violin and viola Op 25 - I kept waiting for the bass notes to appear, I didn't think I knew it but the melodies were familiar so I guess I must have picked it up somewhere along the line.
Then Verklärte Nacht by Schönberg, in view of the title of the group doing the concerts I was expecting the chamber orchestra version, I hadn't noticed the 'soloists' qualification, it was an unexpected pleasure to hear the sextet original. I became familiar with this work at college in the Ramor Quartet version but I'd never heard it live. A wonderful performance which enthralled me - like last week's Ravel Quartet an sensuous experience - Schönberg at that point just two years before the Ravel was very much a traditionalist the Ravel sounding far more modern. Though some of the sextet effects must have shocked the original audiences (it was originally refused performance because of an 'unacceptable chord!).
Part 2 of the concert contained the Mendelssohn Capriccio (for quartet) and the Dvorak Sextet - the concert billing had the Schönberg and masterpieces by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Dvorak but my view was Verklärte Nacht was the masterpiece - with the Dvorak running it close.
I see there's a You tube uploaded version (3 parts):

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