Orchestra of the 20th Century Arthur Weisberg, conductor; Susan Davenny Wyner, soprano
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) composed Erwartung in seventeen days, between August 27 and September 12, 1909. It took another twenty-two days to complete the orchestration and another ffteen years before it was premiered.
The libretto, written by Marie von Pappenheim to Schoenberg's specifications, takes the form of an anguished and distracted soliloquy delivered by a woman as she searches in the dark night wood for her unfaithful lover. The solitary character speaks in discontinuous fragments; bits of descriptive narration, remnants of memory, and outbursts of emotion are strung together in associative chains; or, they suffer abrupt interruption, as if their continuation might reveal too much...
Stefan Wolpe composed the Symphony on a commission from Rodgers and Hammerstein through the League of Composers-ISCM. Begun in the spring of 1955 and completed the following year, the Symphony belongs to a cycle of four major works written during the Black Mountain years that constitutes the principal achievement of his middle period.
These works hold in common a freely flowing, exuberant energy that assimilates to itself a wide range of modes of behavior, qualities of image and gesture, and levels of language from the refined to the vernacular. Successive moments are saturated cubistically by profusely varied and often highly contrasted aspects of an image.
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