Johannes Brahms/Luciano Berio: Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120 (1894) 24’
Olga Neuwirth: Masaot/Clocks without Hands (2013-15) 24′ – National premiere
Arnold Schönberg: Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 (1902-1903; rev. 1920) 41’
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC)
Andreas Ottensamer, clarinet
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
In Pelleas und Melisande, we hear a dying world and another on the point of exploding.A symphonic poem deeply rooted in Romanticism and end-of-century decadence based on a drama by Maurice Maeterlinck, Pelleas and Melisande dates back to Arnold Schoenberg’s early period, together with the Gurre-Lieder cycle (Songs of Gurre) and Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), with which correspondences can be drawn. With an orchestra that contains certain Straussian echoes, it is almost possible to hear the death rattle of a dying world and another world on the point of exploding. Pelleas and Melisande also reflects the Viennese composer’s creative evolution, with tonal language whose expressive tension was taken to extremes. Indeed shortly afterwards, he would embark on “a more complex path”, as he recalled at the end of his life.
With his close familiarity with musical tradition and his tendency toward quotation and paraphrasing, Luciano Berio transformed the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in F Minor No. 1, Op. 120 into the concerto that Johannes Brahms never wrote for this instrument. He did it at a stage–the 1980s–in which transcriptions and reconstructions were common. On this occasion, Berio took the dense, meticulous score for piano that enfolds the soloist and created an arrangement for orchestra.
In this work dedicated to the Vienna Philharmonic, which premiered it in 2015, the well-known Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth reflects on the nature of time and memory in her music. As the title, Clocks without Hands, indicates, memories are prone to fading.