Philippe Jordan makes his Concertgebouworkest debut conducting two works which are more closely related than one might think: Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 - to be streamed on Friday, 12 March - and Schönbergs Verklärte Nacht, which will be streamed on Friday, 19 March.
The Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan has stood at the helm of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra since 2014 and has started his tenure as music director of the Vienna State Opera this season. It is about time for his first performances with the Concertgebouworkest!
Arnold Schönberg the innovator, in 1943 surprisingly revised the string orchestra version of his early, deeply romantic sextet Verklärte Nacht (1899). Four years later in his essay Brahms the Progressive he would remark that Brahms was not the conservative composer his contemporaries thought he was. Similarly, Schönberg’s own reputation belied his romantic traditionalism.
Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht, originally for string sextet, is based on a narrative poem about a young couple conquering their relationship crisis during a stormy evening walk. The music depicts and enlarges their thoughts and feelings. In combining the compellling emotional turmoil with a tight motivic construction, Schönberg proves himself a disciple of the only nineteenth-century composer to write two string sextets: Johannes Brahms.