Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Well, today’s tune is pretty heavy.. but I think it the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. Big statement, I know, and maybe someday in my life I might retract it but right now I can’t imagine that day. I love music that is heartbreakingly beautiful and so here is Verklärte Nacht: a string sextet by Arnold Schönberg written in 1899, inspired by the poem of Richard Dehmel. It is played in one movement but is divided into five distinct sections (indicated by tempo markings in the score) which correspond with the five stanzas of the poem. Here is the poem translated:

I pulled the poem translation from wiki; original english translation by Mary Whittall. Below are the movements and their timings with the following YouTube video as well as their corresponding stanzas.
  1. Sehr langsam.  Two people are walking through a bare, cold wood ..
  2. Etwas bewegter. 2’47”  "I am carrying a child and not by you ..
  3. Schwer betont. 13’14”  She walks on, stumbling..
  4. Sehr breit und langsam. 15’45”  "Do not let the child you have conceived ..
  5. Sehr ruhig. 25’25”  He puts an arm about her strong hips

This recording is an all-stars one:

Janine Jansen, violin
Boris Brovtsyn, violin
Maxim Rysanov, viola
Amihai Grosz, viola
Torleif Thedéen, cello
Jens Peter Maintz, cello

It moves me to tears every time, especially the moment at 15’45” with the cello. Please listen to all of it because the story it creates is stunning. Best listened to in a dim room with quality headphones.

Album cover. I think it's sort of poor form to only have Janine front cover girl.. There are 5 other players.

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