Concert 3 Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center CMS String Sextet A Night In Vienna - Friends of Chamber Music Vancouver

A Night in Vienna CMS String Sextet

November 13, 2016 3:00 pm The Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.

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Single tickets available July 2, 2016


Sean Lee / violin
Alexander Sitkovetsky / violin
Matthew Lipman / viola
Richard O’Neill / viola
David Finckel / cello
Keith Robinson / cello


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Quintet for strings in C minor, K.406

Arnold Schoenberg
Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) for string sextet, Opus 4

Johannes Brahms
Sextet for strings in B flat major, Opus 18

Joining David Finckel, CMS co-artistic director, for this program of Viennese string sextets are violinists Sean Lee and Alexander Sitkovetsky, violists Matthew Lipman and Richard O’Neill, and cellist Keith Robinson.

For centuries, Vienna stood as the cultural epicentre of Europe, a rich melting pot of music, art, and literature; a city that always cherished tradition while pressing toward the artistic future. This program traces the evolution of musical expression in the “city of dreams” through music by three of its greatest voices.

If you’re at the concert, be sure to tweet us @FCMVancouver and use hashtag #FCMcmsVienna!

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Quintet for strings in C minor, K406 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

This exceptionally intense and powerful work starts with a forbidding opening motif, played in unison, which is followed immediately by four distinct motifs – beseeching, defiant, flirtatious, and stubborn. A transition leads to a contrasting subsidiary theme, a long arching melody of exquisite beauty, which, is turn, is followed by a third theme played by the violins and cello. The development centres on a large downward leap (a seventh) that ends the exposition’s first phrase. In the recapitulation, the first subject gets a straightforward reprise but the second theme is presented as a variant.

Mozart’s String Quartet No. 2 in C minor, K406:

Verklärte Nacht, Opus 4 Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)

Played without interruption, the five sections of the work correspond to the five stanzas of Richard Dehmel’s poem of 1896, which tells the story of a distraught young woman confessing to her lover that she carries another man’s child. The man responds that the child, because of their love, will be transformed into his, and the lovers continue through the “high, light night” transfigured.

The Emerson String Quartet playing Verklärte Nacht:

Sextet for Strings in B-flat Major, Opus 18 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

From the first melody to the final coda, the sextet is serene and placid. Special attention is given to the cello throughout the work. The Joachim Quartet gave the premiere in Hanover on October 20, 1860. The sextet was a great success from its initial presentation and remains a favourite to the present day.

Watch Isaac Stern, Choo-Liang Lin, Yo-yo Ma, Sharon Robinson, Jaime Laredo, Michael Tree play Sextet for Strings in B-flat Major, Opus 18: