Hall One, Kings Place
Zemlinsky – Feiger Gedanken bängliches Schwanken, op.22 no.3; Volkslied, op.22 no.5; Das bucklige Männlein, op.22 no.6; Jetzt ist die Zeit, op.27 no.4; Die Verschmähte, op.27 no.5; Harlem Tänzerin, op.27 no.8Schoenberg – Verklärte Nacht, op.4, arr. for piano trio by Eduard Steuermann
Schoenberg – Chamber Symphony no.1, op.9, version for two pianos
Marie Jaermann (soprano)
Amaya Piano Trio (Batia Murvitz (piano), Lea Tuuri (violin), Lauri Rantamoijanen (cello))
Charles Owen, Alberto Portugheis (pianos)
Zemlinsky benefited from a better selection of repertoire than he had received on the first evening of this two concert series, ‘Schoenberg – Master and Pupil’. He also benefited from a better performance of the pieces selected. The six songs performed, three from his op.22 set, and three from op.27, showed the mature composer rather than someone ineptly, if not uninterestingly, straining towards Brahms. The op.22 songs were written in 1934, and premiered in that year in Prague. We hear the composer offering a tonal richness partly born of Schoenberg, yet without following him into breathing the air of another planet, and with a relative concision, even toughness, characterising much of Zemlinsky’s later music, op.22 no.3, for instance, seemingly over in no time at all. Similarly for the op.27 songs, from three years later. Earlier preoccupations - the Wunderhorn setting, ‘Das bücklige Männlein’ inevitably puts us in mind of Der Zwerg – and later ones alike, for instance the Harlem renaissance in op.27 no.8, show themselves mutually accommodating rather than contradictory. It would be difficult to consider them works of genius – unlike, say, the Lyric Symphony – but they are accomplished songs, and that is how they came across in concert. Marie Jaermann offered cleanly sung, direct performances, not without occasional moments of shrillness, but giving a proper sense of the songs’ qualities. Alberto Portugheis’s rendition of the piano parts was uninspired, often heavy-handed and bludgeoning, but at least competent – which, sadly, was far more than could be said for his performance later on.