Musician's Notes
Concert: Sunday May 3 @ 4pm Wilson Chapel, Newton, MA

Ernst Krenek (1900-1991): Parvula Coronis Musicalis

Ernst Krenek was a prominent exponent of the vaunted 2nd Viennese School and his "Parvula Corona Musicalis" is very much composed in the 12 tone technique (this technique was the hallmark of the compositional style of the 2nd Viennese School). The string trio is based entirely on the B-A-C-H motive since it was composed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Bach's death. It is worth noting, perhaps, that the chromatic nature of the B-A-C-H motive lends itself very well to the 12 tone style. Although the piece is composed in an atonal style it is quintessentially Viennese in its pacing and evocation of the rather idiosyncratic Viennese colloquial cadence.

Anton Webern (1883-1945): Langsamer Satz

When people think of the composer Anton Webern (which is probably a rare occurrence) late romantic music is not what generally comes to mind. And yet, that is exactly the sound world of the "Langsamer Satz", composed in 1905 when Webern was 22 years old. Although Webern was already studying with Arnold Schoenberg at the time the Langsamer Satz has lot more in common with Brahms' style than with the 12-tone technique of the Second Viennese School of which Webern became to be one of the main protagonists.

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951): String Trio

Playing the String trio op. 45 by Schoenberg is a profound and deeply moving experience. How could it not be given that this piece is such a personal expression of a rather traumatic event in the composer's life? (Schoenberg started to write the piece only about three weeks after a near fatal heart attack he suffered on August 2nd, 1946). Although the String Trio is written in the 12-tone technique which Schoenberg invented himself it really comes across as a very late-romantic piece filled with the sounds, rhythms, gestures and cadences of  the Viennese dialect and colloquialisms. One of WCP's mottos is that "Music is life translated into sound". As far as we know Schoenberg's String Trio is the only piece ever written which describes a heart attack.

Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942): String Quartet No. 1

Zemlinsky's compositions are recognized for bridging the gap between late Romanticism and twentieth–century modernist styles. Following the path of teachers Robert and J.N. Fuchs, and also Brahms and Wagner, Zemlinsky notably developed shifting tonal centers within a formal technique of variation and word–painting in the style of Viennese expressionism. Zemlinsky wrote in 1902: ‘A great artist, who possesses everything needed to express the essentials, must respect the boundaries of beauty, even if he extends them far further than hitherto’. Indeed, Zemlinsky never entirely strayed beyond the boundaries of tonality, and while he was amongst the first to perform the music of Schoenberg and his school, he rejected the concept of twelve-tone composition. In Zemlinsky's String Quartet No. 1, Op. 4, Brahms' influence on Zemlinsky is strongly felt.  In fact the finale derives its main theme from the intervals of Brahms’s personal musical monogram, F–A–F (‘frei aber froh’ – free but joyful).