This Lieder cycle, put together and orchestrated in 2013 from, for me, the strongest of Zemlinsky’s Lieder from Opp. 2, 5, , 8 and 10 on the theme of night and dream, to texts by Paul Heyse, Jens Peter Jacobsen, Christian Morgenstern (to name only the familiar names), forms a kind of triptych, together with my two other Zemlinsky arrangements, the 40-minute Chamber Symphony (after the Op. 15 String Quartet) for 14 solo instruments and the Chamber Concerto (after the Op. 3 Trio) for 15 solo instruments, scored quite similarly to the Lieder.
Unlike the Chamber Symphony with its fourth-chord echoes and its harmonic language tensed almost to the bursting point, the Lieder reveal Zemlinsky’s roots, the seven songs already forming a marvellous microcosm of his burgeoning individual compositional world, already developed as his own, original one – yet one in which reminiscences of Brahms are traceable in the distance and commonalities with Schönberg and Mahler are intuited in its breakaway atmosphere, even if Zemlinsky’s path did lead him somewhere else entirely later on.