Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strauss and Mahler Arrangements

I will be involved in an interesting program of chamber ensemble arrangements of Romantic classics by Johann Strauss and Gustav Mahler next week at the Schuster Center in Dayton. The concert will be performed twice: there is a performance on Wednesday, May 21, at 6:30 PM and another on Thursday, May 22, at 10:00 AM.

The two works being presented are Strauss's waltz set Rosen aus dem Suden (Roses from the South), arranged by Arnold Schoenberg, and Mahler's Fourth Symphony in an arrangement/transcription by Erwin Stein. (Stein was a close friend and pupil of Schoenberg.) Both works are chamber versions that include considerable keyboard parts for piano and harmonium. I am excited because Mahler is not usually available to pianists - he wrote mostly gigantic symphonies for orchestra. Now's my chance to be the horns, oboes, flutes, and other instruments in this gorgeous symphony!

These arrangements were written specifically for performance by Schoenberg's organization in Vienna known as the Society for Private Musical Performances (in German: Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen). They were first performed in the year 1921. There were many of these kinds of "economical" arrangements on Society concert programs - the major aim of the organization was to enable experiences of modern music without the prohibitive cost of rehearsing larger forces. 1921, of course, was the year when hyper-inflation began to negatively affect the German economy. Indeed, the Society unfortunately suspended its activities in 1921 due to this financial turbulence.

But on the bright side, I'm certainly looking forward to helping recreate the energetic atmosphere of a Society-style concert from that tumultuous era.

To purchase tickets for this event, please see the webpage for this concert at the Dayton Phil site.