Free concert stream of the weekend: Schoenberg from Berlin

Free concert stream of the weekend: Schoenberg from Berlin


norman lebrecht

March 12, 2021

Message received:

On Sunday, 14 March from 11 a.m., we present a concert streaming on our website for you, which was recently recorded with the Staatskapelle Berlin under General Music Director Daniel Barenboim at the opera House.

The programme includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 in B flat major KV 361 “Gran Partita” and Arnold Schönberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1 op. 9. The concert will remain freely available for 30 days. 



  • Jucky Lucky says:

    Schoenberg. Juck.

    Mixig Mozart with Schoenberg: juck.

    Like Mixing wonderful nature with concrete buildings and garbage.

    • Bone says:

      Gotta disagree: the Schoenberg chamber symphonies are both wonderful pieces. Combining one of Mozart’s beautiful wind work with high quality 20th century chamber music is an inspired programming choice. I bet there will be some audience members who will leave more curious about exploring modern music.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Schoenberg’s 1st Chamber Symphony is a masterpiece, on the same level as any Beethoven symphony. It’s only quite compressed music, saying things that took Beethoven four movements, in one short movement. It is entirely tonal, including chromaticism, chords made up of fourths and the whole tone scale, and an expressive narrative entirely convincing. At the climax, where the music seems to dissolve in chaos, a chord of fourths glides into a major chord, a moving resolution, from which point all the conflicts are resolved and the music celebrates the Beethovenian principle of light overcoming darkness. One has to be quite deaf and have a heart of granite to miss all of this.

        This unique work shows what Schoenberg could have done had he not given-up tonal thought. His 2nd chamber symphony from the thirties was written in an act of nostalgia, he said he always had the feeling that in that style there could be written much more. He gives the impression of faintly feeling he missed-out on something.

        • Alexander T says:

          Indeed, it is an absolute stunner of a piece.

        • Ashu says:

          “The Beethovenian principle of light overcoming darkness”: so _that’s_ where it came from!

        • John Borstlap says:

          It may be amusing to read what Constant Lambert in his ‘Music Ho!’ (1934) had to say about the Chamber Symphony:

          “To hear a performance of the Kammersymphonie, for example, is as disquieting an experience as meeting a respected family friend in a state of half-maudlin, half-truculent intoxication.”

          He did not hear the way in which unruly material is mastered, like compressing a couple of Mahler symphonies in a small box.

          For Lambert, Schoenberg’s music is the oldfashioned German classical tradition getting off the rails – Pierrot Lunaire being a Lieder recital going wrong.

    • Herbie G says:

      Why refer to him as ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’? I think it’s safe to assume that anyone seeing just his surname, especially the enlightened readers of SD, would not, faux de mieux, assume that the Gran Partita was by father Leopold or son Franz Xavier.
      Will they be opening the concert with the overture ‘Light Cavalry’ by Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo Suppe?

      • John Borstlap says:

        Given the quite diverse population that comments on SD, specifying WHICH Mozart is meant, is no luxury. There is Archibald Mozart, the blacksmith who took revenge on count Moritz von Schwarzenhofen for having made a suggestive remark to his wife, by hammering on his foot; Amélie Mozart who was a prolific writer of horror stories which influenced Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’; Franz Joseph Mozart who played the oboe in the court ensemble of Cöthen under J.S. Bach and quarreled with him about wrong notes in the score; Markus Heinrich Mozart who was hanged on the Viennese Graben because of multiple fornication; and tax collector Xavier François Mozart who spent most of his life in prison because of embezzlement. And this only in the 18th century. In the 17th century however…. but my PA stops me under the threat of a frying-pan.

    • RM says:

      One cannot understand, much less appreciate Schoenberg’s two Chamber symphonies without firstly knowing Mozart’s Gran Parttita.

      Context being everything, I’ve performed (and listened to) these masterpieces numerous times and no one could make such a broad, condemning statement about Schoenberg’s works without being well acquainted with all three.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      If it were the Schoenberg “Serenade” or his “Jacob’s Ladder” (Jakobsleiter), I’d agree. But the first Chamber Symphony is a reasonably good match to the Mozart “Gran Partita”. The Mozart shows off your woodwinds, the Schoenberg presents a challenge for the strings (without stressing listeners too much at all). It could have been much worse.

    • Edoardo says:

      Why? I found actually a great combination, pairing masterpiece with masterpiece.
      In Boston I once heard Beethoven’s Ninth proceeded by Schoenberg 2nd Chamber Symphony

    • A.L. says:

      Schoenberg is not yuck. Not at all. While I am not enamored of his entire output (as with most composers), his Chamber Symphony No. 1, Verklärte Nacht, and Gurrelieder, to name but three, are masterpieces the equal of any at the very top of the hierarchy.

    • Moses says:

      you’re an idiot. unfortunately, it’s permanent.

      • John Borstlap says:

        It is very impolite to straightforwardly call someone who in all innocence made a comment here, ‘an idiot’. You should introduce such wording with: ‘in all due respect…’.

    • Julian Elloway says:

      I wonder whether the writer of that comment actually knows the wonderful first Chamber Symphony.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Mozart’s Gran Partita and Schönberg’s Chamber Symphony 1 (especially the Ur-Version) are very compatible works indeed, they were just composed more than a century appart.

      Clean your ears.

      • John Borstlap says:

        It has been shown that dissonances are the best way of unblocking the auditory ducts, dissolving the hard obstacles created by prejudice.

    • Old Man in the Midwest says:


      Two great contrasting works on one program offered at no charge conducted by a great musician and performed by great instrumentalists and this?

    • Fernandel says:

      If you ever want to start a career as a comic actor, I engage you immediately.

  • Alexander T says:

    Lucky Berliners !!
    They are to be treated to more of the usual mediocre “thick soup” that is the stock in trade of the all-too-ubiquitous Barenboim.

  • No says:

    Does literally anyone need to hear this overrated, underprepared “grand gentleman” anymore… ffs listen to lieterly ANY rising you g artist first.

  • Chris says:

    And then at 4.30 the same day, a livestream of Francesca da Rimini from the Deutsche Oper Berlin! A busy day in the Hauptstadt

  • Alexander T says:

    He conducted the Schönberg at the Proms a few years ago.
    He had his head in the score most of the time as he obviously didn’t know the piece well enough.
    It was a lousy performance.
    Hopefully, things have improved since then.

  • psq says:

    Also from Berlin, the Deutsche Oper Berlin free live stream Premiere on March 14, 7 pm, of Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini. Afterwards for 3 days free streaming of the highlights.