Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Ugly, Beautiful

Donald Macleod focuses on Zemlinsky's turbulent early life in pre-war Vienna, including his close relationship with Arnold Schoenberg.

Donald Macleod introduces the ugly, beautiful, hyper-expressive musical world of Alexander Zemlinsky - and his turbulent early life in pre-war Vienna.

Alexander Zemlinsky may have been famously ugly. But his music is amongst the most beautiful, intense and passionate ever written. Pilloried through his life for his gawky, bespectacled appearance and diminutive stature, he lived a life in the shadow of his friend and brother-in-law Arnold Schoenberg, and his one-time lover, the beautiful socialite Alma Mahler. "My time will come after my death", the composer said - and in the last half century audiences have come to love the shimmering details and epic Romantic sweep of his music. Often compared musically to Mahler, Zemlinsky weathered the build-up to two world wars from his beloved home city of Vienna, only to die prematurely in exile in the USA.

Donald Macleod begins the week by painting a picture of "fin-de-siècle" Vienna at the turn of the 20th century - an artistic, philosophical and musical nexus. He also ilooks at Zemlinsky's close relationship with his friend, and later brother-in-law, Arnold Schoenberg.

Lyric Symphony (1st movt. Ich bin friedlos)
Matthias Goerne, baritone
Orchestre de Paris
Christophe Eschenbach, conductor

Clarinet Trio (3rd movt. Allegro)
Emma Johnson, clarinet
Frank Helmerson, cello
John Lenehan, piano

Sinfonietta (1st movt. Sehr lebhaft)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Anthony Beaumont, conductor

String Quartet No 2 (5th movt. Langsam)
Escher String Quartet

Fantasies after poems by Richard Dehmel
Stanislav Khristenko, piano

Irmelin Rose
Hans Peter Blochwitz, tenor
Cord Garben, piano.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 20 Mar 2017 18:30

Music Played

  • Alexander von Zemlinsky

    Lyric Symphony Op 18

    Singer: Matthias Goerne. Orchestra: Orchestre de Paris. Conductor: Christoph Eschenbach.
    • CAPRICCIO : 71.-081.
    • 1.
  • Alexander von Zemlinsky

    Trio in D minor Op 3

    Performer: Emma Johnson. Performer: John Lenehan.
    • NIMBUS : NI6310.
    • NIMBUS.
    • 7.
  • Alexander von Zemlinsky

    Sinfonietta Op 23

    Performer: Antony Beaumont. Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic.
    • CHANDOS:10204.
    • CHANDOS.
    • 6.
  • Alexander von Zemlinsky

    String Quartet No 2 Op15

    Ensemble: Escher String Quartet.
    • NAXOS : 8.573088.
    • NAXOS.
    • 5.
  • Alexander von Zemlinsky

    Fantasien Uber Gedichte Von Richard Dehmel Op 9

    Performer: Stanislav Khristenko.
    • STEINWAY:STNS30032.
    • 5.
  • Alexander von Zemlinsky

    Irmelin Rose Und Andere Gesange Op 7

    Performer: Cord Garben. Singer: Andreas Schmidt. Singer: Barbara Bonney.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON : dg-427 348 2.
    • 27.


Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.