In setting Richard Dehmel’s poem “Verklärte Nacht” (Transfigured Night) in his op. 4, the young Arnold Schönberg pursued the intention, as he himself said, of “attempting those new forms in chamber music which have been created in orchestral music based on a poetic idea”. Composed in September 1899 in a few weeks whilst he was on holiday, the Sextet incorporates the ideas of the symphonic poem in its programmatic character and its one-movement form, and also displays late Romantic traits in its opulent tone. Already at its premiere in 1902 in Vienna, the special quality of the work was recognised, characterised by “peculiar sound combinations and groundbreaking figures”, a work which was to become a true modern classic in the 20th century. For this Urtext edition, both the autograph score and the 1905 first edition have been consulted, as well as Schönberg’s personal copies which are preserved in Vienna and contain numerous markings by the composer.
- Transfigured Night op. 4