Pelleas and Melisande in three versions

Arnold Schönberg’s Pelleas and Melisande (1902) is poised between Verklärte Nacht and Gurre Lieder on the one hand, and between his String Quartet No. 1 and the Chamber Symphony on the other. The composer achieved a kind of turnaround during that time, from romantic harmony to a fourth-chord system, from the symphonic poem rooted in Romanticism to the symphony, and from a huge orchestra to chamber music instrumentation.

In Pelleas Schönberg still used an orchestra so enormous (e.g. 8 horns, 4 trumpets, 5 trombones) that further expansion for the future became impossible. Thus it was only a small step forward along his path when he scored the individually shaped motivic voices in his Chamber Symphony for 15 solo instruments instead of using large-scale doublings, etc.

Apart from Schönberg’s original orchestration, Universal Edition also publishes a somewhat reduced version by Erwin Stein. We have also recently published a version for chamber orchestra by Cliff Colnot (2008), which will receive its world[nbsp]première on 8 Sept by the Pori Sinfonietta under Jukka Iisakkila in Finland.

4 4 5 4 –[nbsp] 8 4 5 1 –[nbsp] timp(2), perc(3), hp(2 od. 4), str(16 16 12 12 8)
(original instrumentation)
3 3 3 3 –[nbsp] 4 3 3 1 –[nbsp] timp(2), perc(3), hp(2 od. 4), str
(Erwin Stein)
2 2 3 2 –[nbsp] 3 2 2 1 –[nbsp] perc(2), hp, str
(Cliff Colnot)

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