Kent Nagano conducts Arnold Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder tonight at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Schönberg worked on his Gurre-Lieder from 1900-1911, a period in which he left the work’s style far behind. For him its completion represented the documentation of a compositional style and spiritual attitude no longer his own.
Still, at its 1913 première in the Vienna Musikverein the piece enjoyed overwhelming success; Schönberg’s pupil Anton Webern wrote: “What a moment of my life! Unforgettable… The sensation of this tumultuous noise thrills me to the point where I swoon …”