The concert features three early works by three composers. Two of them are among the most popular and most often performed in the output of their authors, while the third for many years remained almost completely forgotten.
The Danish composer Carl Nielsen completed his Little Suite in 1887, when he was less than 22 years old. The first presentation of the work was a great success, and the enthusiastic audience repeatedly curtain-called Nielsen playing in the orchestra. Inspired by mythological themes, the suite consists of three movements, which originally had the following titles: Danaids, Dancing Charites (these goddesses are better known under the name Graces) and Bacchus’ March. Later, Nielsen gave up on them and decided to introduce more prosaic names: Prelude, Intermezzo and Finale. The romantic, melodious and expressive suite does not yet herald Nielsen’s mature works. Perhaps this very feature makes it one of the Nielsen’s most frequently played compositions.
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's Violin Concerto in E minor belongs to his most famous works. Few people know that it was the second composition in this genre in his oeuvre. The Violin Concerto in D minor, which will sound this evening, was created in 1823, when Felix was only thirteen years old. This work has never gained great popularity. Its appearance on concert stages was due to the excellent violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who performed it in 1952 at Carnegie Hall and then recorded the work three times. The Concerto in D minor is a light and carefree composition in a conventional three-movement form. The work was crowned with an energetic finale at the Allegro tempo.
The Verklärte Nacht is the early work of Schönberg. However, while the compositions by Nielsen and Mendelssohn were enthusiastically received, the work by Arnold Schönberg aroused great controversy. The work based on a poem by Richard Dehmel and inspired by the composer's fervent affection for his future wife, Mathilde von Zemlinsky, caused a lot of confusion among the prudish Viennese society, because the literary prototype was far from being virtuous. Nowadays, the Verklärte Nacht no longer raises this kind of sensation, and its passionate and ardent expression makes it one of Schönberg's most liked compositions.