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Vespasiano

The Mermaid

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Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Antonin Dvorak, Joseph Suk, Arnold Schoenberg. These are just a few of the composers who were active in the Vienna of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the musical world of Vienna-born Alexander von Zemlinsky. Many of these fellow-composers could be counted among his most intimate friends and acquaintances. This was the musical milieu in which he lived and worked.

What a spectacular time to be writing and hearing music!!

As a teacher, Zemlinsky would have many students; but two of the more prominent of these were Arnold Schoenberg (Schoenberg's only formal teacher) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

Here is a work by Zemlinsky completed in 1903: Die Seejungfrau ("The Mermaid"), based upon Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale. This masterfully conceived orchestral fantasy received its premier in 1905 but, after only one performance, was withdrawn by the composer. The score was eventually "broken up" over the subsequent decades as Zemlinsky moved around Europe and eventually fled to the U.S. with the rise of the Nazis. It was only in 1984 that the complete score was restored (culled from various pieces of it in both America and Austria) and the work performed again. For additional information, do check out the YouTube poster's excellent notes beneath the viewer. Otherwise . . . enjoy!

Alexander von Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau

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