Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Guests
The Year 1912
Five Pieces for Orchestra Op. 16 (arr. for chamber ensemble by Felix Greissle)
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (arr. for chamber ensemble by Benno Sachs)
Six Pieces for Orchestra Op. 6b (arr. for chamber ensemble)
Given its premiere in Paris on 22 December 1894, Debussy’s breakthrough work Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune clearly points the direction of musical Modernism: “with the flute of the faun, music began to draw new breath,” was the verdict of Pierre Boulez. Arnold Schoenberg was a central figure of this Modernism. From the early 1920s he developed a new set of rules with his “Method of Composing with Twelve Tones Which are Related Only with One Another”, which strongly influenced the music of the 20th century.
The Five Pieces for Orchestra, opus 16 in which Schoenberg, among other things, dared to take the decisive step towards the abandonment of traditional principles of form with the “emancipation of dissonance”, were composed at the beginning of this radical development. – Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt described the fourth of these pieces as “a ghostly scherzo in the spirit of Mahler”. The expressionist sonorities of Pierrot Lunaire, which Schoenberg composed for the Leipzig vocalist Albertine Zehme based on poems by Otto Erich Hartleben – “And I feel that I am definitely approaching a new form of expression.” – serve on the other hand the “immediate expression of sensual and spiritual movements.” (Schoenberg).
The premiere of the 21 miniatures on 16 October 1912 in the Berlin Choralion Saal was a triumph for Schoenberg: “Schoenberg and the performers,” said Webern, “were repeatedly called back to the stage. Schoenberg the most, of course. The audience shouted for him again and again. It was an unqualified success.”