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The La Jolla Symphony did it to me again. Previously the La Jolla Symphony had got me fired up about Stravinsky for the first time. Now it’s Schoenberg.

Schoenberg is a composer whom I should adore. He’s from my favorite milieu, he’s a philosopher, he was a renowned painter, but I just haven’t found his music to be appealing.

In fact, I’d have to say I’ve found his music UN-appealing. I understand his philosophy of music and I tend to agree with his sentiment but listening to his music is rough.

However, at the Saturday night concert the La Jolla Symphony Chorus performed an a capella piece by Schoenberg that I found to be profound and moving.

The first piece of the concert was Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem. The final section of this music was played beautifully by the orchestra.

There is an interesting story behind Britten’s composition but I’ll save that for another time.

The Schoenberg choral piece was the second selection of the night. The title was Peace on Earth: Friede auf erden. As mentioned, this piece was performed a capella but there is an orchestrated version as well.

Schoenberg’s intention was to have the choir sing unaccompanied but the music was so difficult that he provided an orchestral accompaniment to support the sings.

With the inclusion of the translation projected above the chorus, this became a tremendous and poignant musical experience.

I would venture to guess that most of the audience was unfamiliar with Friede auf erden. I would also venture to guess that most of the audience appreciated being introduced to the is gem of post-romanticism.

When the Schoenberg piece concluded, things got even better.

To be continued...

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