Verklarte Nacht

Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4, is a string sextet in one movement composed by Arnold Schoenberg in 1899. Composed in just three weeks, it is considered his earliest important work. It was inspired by Richard Dehmel’s poem of the same name, combined with the influence of Schoenberg’s strong feelings upon meeting Mathilde von Zemlinsky (the sister of his teacher Alexander von Zemlinsky), whom he would later marry. The movement can be divided into five distinct sections which refer to the five stanzas of Dehmel’s poem. Being an earlier work, it is much more tonal than Schoenberg’s later works.  It is a very moving, and romantic, tone poem. Most of the piece is in A minor, and a full 20 minutes in it shifts into a hugely expansive A major key.