How can Schoenberg be easier than Mozart?

If you enjoy the Hausmusiks, then the spring recital on Saturday, March 9th at “The Barrage” in Newbury is all that and much more. The musicians are still basically sitting in your lap, seating will be “in the round,” but this time we’ve prepared a concert not a reading party. And what a program - two undisputed masterworks in Arnold Schoenberg’s string trio and Mozart’s Divertimento, played by my new group, the Cret String Trio.

Playing in the round at a Hausmusik

A thoughtful reader challenged my observation that the Mozart is more difficult than the Schoenberg. I suppose it sounds like one of those annoying faux-profound things artists say, but here it holds water. Schoenberg is very clear about what he wants musically, going so far as to even indicate which voice should be louder than the others at any given moment. The message is: “do what I say and the music will play itself.” Sure, the individual parts are nauseatingly difficult to execute, but the musical decisions are clear.  With the Mozart, however, one could spend a lifetime plumbing the depths of this work and still not reach the bottom.

The Schoenberg is also straightforward because it tells a specific story. The piece is unabashedly autobiographical and chronicles a “major medical event” Schoenberg suffered along with his subsequent recovery.

I’ll be taking the audience through a guided tour of the trio during the concert, putting a personal spin on music which – reasonably enough - can at first seem baffling.

If you have one, please bring a tablet or iPad so you can follow along with the scores (links: Mozart and Schoenberg, and also available on the NCMF website at the bottom of the concert page). The Schoenberg score is used with the generous permission of Belmont Music Publishers.

See you soon,

David Yang, Artistic Director

Self-portrait by
Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951)
Happy Halloween!

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