The evening is dedicated to love for one’s fellow man and nature in the world sinking increasingly into decadence. To save it, we must keep coming back to return to love.
TRANSFIGURED NIGHT (Verklärte Nacht)
Premiere performance for the San Francisco Ballet (2010)
Arnold Schönberg, Transfigured Night, Op. 4
Arnold Schönberg was only 25 years in 1899 when the poetry of Richard Dehml (1863-1920) and his love for Mathilde von Zemlinsky inspired him to compose the piece for string sextet. It was first presented to the world in 1902 and performed by the Rosé Quartet, Franz Jelinek and composer Franz Schmidt. In 1917, Schönberg arranged the composition, whose new version was published by the Universal Edition. Transfigured Night is a late Romantic piece of music and one of Schönberg's most popular and performed compositions.
In his composition, Schonberg followed the structure of a poem (published in 1896 in the volume Weib und Welt), based on two main stanzas. In the first part we witness the confession of a woman (interpreted by the violins), who confides in her lover that she is carrying the child of a man she did not love; in the second, her lover speaks back to her (interpreted by the violoncellos). He reassures her that he loves not only her but also her unborn child. The composer added an introduction and an epilogue to the two movements.
En pointe ballet in neoclassical style Transfigured Night is a technically accomplished dance of duets that follows the libretto and the music in a free interpretation. Placed in the foreground is the theme of love, the master of our lives, as well as its constant changing and immortality.
SONG OF THE EARTH (Das Lied von der Erde)
Gustav Mahler, Das Lied von der Erde
Referring to the tragedies that befell Mahler and changed his life entirely in the fall of 1907, Bruno Walter wrote: »Death, to whose mysteries his thoughts and perceptions fled so often, suddenly came to the fore. The world and life now dwell in the ominous shadow of its proximity.« That fall the translation of Bethge's Chinese Flute was published, after which Mahler composed a new and untitled piece of music in the summer of 1908.
Mahler selected seven poems from a paraphrased translation of an 8th-century Tang Dynasty collection of poems, which in many ways resembled late 19th-century German poetry and shaped them into an allegory of fleeting existence merging into eternity. Mahler's Song of the Earth is imbued with an oriental flavour, exposing such dynamic yin-yang opposites as night – day, autumn – spring, life – death, intoxication – meditation. Also characteristic are the structure of five parts and anhemitonic pentatonic scale, which is the most frequent concept of tonal organisation in Asian music, and the composer also relied on the improvisational practice of heterophony (»indistinct unison«, as named by Adorno).
Mahler's reluctance to find the title for his final composition probably stemmed from his superstitious fear of the Ninth Symphony – the last in the genre for both Beethoven and Bruckner. In the winter of 1909/1910, he, however, entitled his work Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth) – on the same sheet of paper on which he assigned the dreaded number of nine to the symphony he had completed the previous summer.
Song of the Earth by Renato Zanella is a dance performance in neoclassical style. The mystical interpretation of a journey into the past reminds us to rediscover the value of nature and all the values we have lost in the present day. Local and visiting opera soloists will also apper in the performance; the Orchestra of the Ljubljana Opera will be led by Maestro Kevin Rhodes.