To illustrate the progressiveness of Brahms's harmonic style, Schönberg quoted his String Quartet opus 51 in C minor, arguing that Brahms's 'developing variation technique' and phrase structure were among the essential materials of Verklärte Nacht.
The Amsterdam Sinfonietta performs the original version of this string quartet, with the addition of a bass part created by the bass player and arranger Marijn van Prooijen.
In 1899, Arnold Schönberg wrote within three weeks the string sextet entitled Verklärte Nacht. It was inspired by Richard Dehmel's poem of the same name from Weib und Welt, a volume of poetry that caused great controversy at the time because of the sexual nature of its subject matter.
Arnold Schönberg arranged the string sextet for string orchestra in 1917 on the request of the Viennese publisher Universal Edition, and only then did the work become widely known. The composer corrected the orchestral score in 1943, adapting dynamics and tempos to increase the transparency of his arrangement. This is the version used by Amsterdam Sinfonietta in the present recording.
Amsterdam Sinfonietta occupies a unique position on the Dutch music scene as professional string orchestra. It is regularly invited to perform in concert halls throughout the world as one of the very few large-scale string ensembles on the international scene. The ensemble consists of 23 chamber musicians and its repertoire covers a variety of styles, ex tend ing from the Baroque repertoire to contemporary works. What sets Amsterdam Sinfonietta apart from the ‘regular’ chamber orchestras is the top priority it gives to a ‘chamber music mentality’.
II. Romanze: Poco Adagio
III. Allegretto Molto Moderato E Comode
Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4
24th April 2011
“Fascinating to hear the Brahms String Quartet Op 51 No 1 simply transcribed for string orchestra, with a double-bass line added by Sinfonietta player Marijn van Prooijen. The Amsterdam ensemble revels in the first movement’s symphonic textures, but later movements prove less convincing...But wonders return in the closing pages, managed with exquisite delicacy.”
28th April 2011
“when one gets used to the scale of the performance and its replacement of muscularity by weight in the texture, the performance works effectively in what is one of Brahms's most racked and intense minor-key works...Pairing it with an intensely neurotic account of Schoenberg's much more familiar string-orchestra version of Verklärte Nacht (originally a string sextet) certainly points up the connections between Brahms and the young Schoenberg”
“This is not a neurotic reading [of Verklärte Nacht] but it is one in which the listener is made very aware of the shivery moonlight. The incipient tonal lushness has been toned down and the resulting fragility works well”
17th June 2011
“In immensely rich and refulgent surround sound, another welcome issue in the Amsterdam Sinfonietta’s series of issues documenting sensitive arrangements for fuller orchestra of great chamber music works.”
“the Amsterdam Sinfonietta's phrasing is internally supple throughout an interpretation that yields little in intensity to older, weighty recordings...some phenomenally alert responses on the part of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and a recording quality of comparable range and depth.”
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