For those of you who attended our recent subscription concerts with Jun Märkl conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, I thought you might enjoy this youtube video I dug up of him conducting Verklärte Nacht.

I hope to see some of you tomorrow or Saturday for the MSO performances of Verklärte Nacht. It’s accompanied by a variety of works from the 20th century: John Rutter’s Sprig of Thyme featuring the MSO Chorus, Derek Bermel’s Soul Garden featuring principal violist Robert Levine, and Arvo Pärt’s Fratres.

If you want the full experience of Verklärte Nacht, it’s worth checking out the Richard Dehmel poem that is the basis for the work. You can find many translations online from the original German, but as inspiration, I prefer a paraphrase of the poem by Henry E. Krehbiel written for performances in the 1920’s:

“Two mortals walk through a cold, barren grove. The moon sails over the tall oaks, which send their scrawny branches up through the unclouded moonlight. A woman speaks. She confesses a sin to the man at her side: she is with child and he is not its father. She had lost belief in happiness and, longing for life’s fullness, for motherhood and mother’s duty, she had surrendered herself, shuddering, to the embraces of a man she knew not. She had thought herself blessed, but now life has avenged itself upon her, by giving her the love of him she walks with. She staggers onward, gazing with lackluster eye at the moon which follows her.

“A man speaks. Let her not burden her soul with thoughts of guilt. See, the moon’s sheen enwraps the universe. Together they are driving over chill waters, but a flame from each warms the other. It, too, will transfigure the little stranger, and she will bear the child to him and make him, too, a child. They sink into each other’s arms. Their breaths meet in kisses in the air. Two mortals walk through the wondrous moonlight.”


About Francesco Lecce-Chong

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