Dec. 1, 2021
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Concert Ouverture »The Fair Melusine« op. 32 (1833)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Violin Concerto d major op. 35 (1937-1939)
Alexander von Zemlinsky
»The Mermaid« (1903)
Three child prodigies. Three artists with Jewish roots. Three men ostracized and persecuted. While Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy did not experience repression during his lifetime and his music was banned only during the era of National Socialism, Alexander von Zemlinsky and Wolfgang Korngold suffered all the more during that reign of terror. Both were ostracized and forced into emigration. Bereft of his creativity, Zemlinsky died, ill and mentally broken, in New York in 1942; Korngold, on the other hand, managed to continue his career in Hollywood, writing brilliant film music. This cannot be denied when listening to his 1945 Violin Concerto, which Korngold composed using the material of various early film scores. The work, a pean to the seductive sound of the violin, bears the sobriquet »Hollywood Concerto« for a reason. The tales on which the other two works on the programme are based, both delving into the mystical and mysterious world under water, also frequently served as film subjects. While Mendelssohn’s Melusine, a human, is banished to the soulless world of water creatures in punishment for a crime, the opposite is the case in Zemlinsky’s opulent tone poem based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy-tale: his mermaid falls in love with a human, gives up the gift of speech for love, and finally even sacrifices her own life to save her beloved.