Schoenberg: looking back, looking forward

Published: Mar 02 2021

Verklärte Nacht ('Transfigured Night') is a piece that sits at a series of divides.

Written at the end of the 19th century and first performed at the beginning of the 20th. Composed by a young Arnold Schoenberg, toast of Vienna, but before he developed his dodecaphonic system that made him the cilantro of composers. Both a piece of Brahms-like formalism and of Wagnerian heart-on-the-sleeve narrative.

We take a close look at Transfigured Night and discover the composer as radically inventive but also a steadfast adherent to the traditions of Germanic composition.

This episode features the following recordings:

  • Arnold SCHOENBERG | Verklärte Nacht, performed by the Artemis Quartet featuring members of the Berg quartet. Available on Warner Classics.

  • Johannes BRAHMS | String Quartet no 1, performed by the New Zealand String Quartet. Available on Naxos.

  • Richard WAGNER | Overture, Tristan und Isolde, Hand Schmidt-Isserstedt and Orchestra national de France. Radio France.

  • The Programme Notes title music is a collage of the endings of Béla Bartók's six string quartets

Written by Hamish Robb

Presented by Clarissa Dunn

Produced by Elliot Vaughan

for Chamber Music New Zealand