The only Belgian Nobel Prize winner for literature, Maurice Maeterlinck, wrote his theater play 'Pelléas et Mélisande' in 1893.
The play made a great impression on a select group of composers: both Debussy and Fauré, as well as Jean Sibelius, wrote music inspired by this Symbolist masterpiece.
Less well-known, but no less brilliant, is Arnold Schönberg's symphonic poem 'Pelleas und Melisande'. The still very young Schönberg lets go of all the brakes here and creates a colossal 45-minute work for an equally gigantic orchestral line-up. But the impetuous romanticism is especially striking: Schönberg brings the entire nineteenth century to an exuberant synthesis, his later radical modernism is still a long way off...
Recently, Het Collectief discovered a new version of this work. A young German, Levi Hammer, appeared to have reduced the work in 2019 to a chamber music ensemble of only 13 musicians.
We are impatient to add this work to our repertoire and will be performing it this autumn in Bruges and Utrecht together with Zemlinsky's Maeterlinck songs and Webern's Passacaglia opus 1.