String Quartet No.1 / Verklärte Nacht
Johannes Brahms / Arnold Schönberg

String Quartet No.1 / Verklärte Nacht

Amsterdam Sinfonietta / Candida Thompson

CCS 30411 - 0723385304111

Information GreatBrittain Germany

When Arnold Schonberg was a youth, the controversy between the schools of Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner was still in full swing. Wagner belonged to the so-called New German School, which sought to break with tradition and to experiment with instrumentation, form and harmonic style. Brahms, like Robert Schumann, was a member of the Academic School, whose innovations were organically related to the tradition of Beethoven. And as for Schonberg - he began his musical life as a convinced disciple of Brahms. However, after hearing Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde, he became equally devoted to Wagner. Indeed, both influences are manifest in Schonberg's Verklarte Nacht. While Wagner has gone down in history as the great innovator, Brahms is widely viewed as a conservative composer.

In 1933, on the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Johannes Brahms, Arnold Schonberg gave a lecture entitled The progressive Brahms. Schonberg explained why Brahms was such a great innovator and even stressed his importance for the emergence of the Second Viennese School. To illustrate the progressiveness of Brahms's harmonic style, Schonberg 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 Verklarte Nacht. Besides many articles, Schonberg's greatest homage to Brahms lies in his orchestration of the latter's First Piano Quartet, made in 1937.

  • 1
    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51
    I. Allegro
  • 2
    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51
    II. Romanze. Poco adagio
  • 3
    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51
    III. Allegretto molto moderato e comodo - Un poco piú animato
  • 4
    String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51
    IV. Allegro
  • 5
    Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4