April 2019


Verklärte Nacht

conducted by David A. Fanning

Arnold Schoenberg - Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (1943 version)
Vasily KALINNIKOV - Serenade (1891)
Juan Bautista PLAZA - Fuga Criolla (1931)
John RUTTER - Suite for Strings (1973)
Johann SVENDSEN - Norwegian Folksong, Op. 31 (1874)

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Concert Notes

Returning to the music of Arnold Schoenberg, the NSS presents Verklärte Nacht, one of the most important string orchestra works of the Romantic era. Originally composed as a string sextet, Schoenberg arranged "Verklärte Nacht" ("Transfigured Night") for string orchestra in 1917, then revised it again in 1943. Among Schoenberg's earliest important works, it was inspired by a poem of redemption and forgiveness by Richard Dehmel. (It was also inspired by his infatuation with the sister of his music teacher, whom he would later marry.) Controversial at its debut, this work has become one of the most important tone poems ever written.

Folk songs have long been a source of inspiration for composers. John Rutter's Suite for Strings and Johann Svendsen's Norwegian Folksong are two such compositions. The NSS performed the Rutter Suite on our premiere concert and it has been among our most requested works ever since. The four folk songs found in it will be familiar to many listeners, particularly to Downton Abbey fans. Svendsen's work (based on the Norwegian folk song "Last year I was tending the goats"), though likely less well known, is a charming example of Scandinavian music that will leave listeners wanting more.

Juan Bautista Plaza's Fuga Criolla is based on a fugue. Venezuelan-born Plaza infused his version of this centuries-old musical form with a vibrant Latin American flavor. Completing the program is Vasily Kalinikov's Serenade. Though not based on an actual folk song like the Rutter and Svendsen works, Kalinikov's composition has much of the same charm and character.

NOTE: NSS concerts typically last around two hours, including a 15-minute intermission.