With much in common with Bach (both loved puzzles, complex structures, and counterpoint), Webern’s realisation is a tribute from one great music contrapuntalist to the inspiration and skill of his predecessor. Metamorphosen is a sonic representation of mourning and melancholy, written during the aftermath of the destruction of Strauss’ beloved Vienna, Dresden and Berlin. With its dense chromaticism and intricate counterpoint, Strauss had found a way to address the present with the voice of the past. Beethoven’s epic Eroica proved to be the watershed between the Classical and Romantic periods. Although his earlier works had shown flashes of what was to come, the Third Symphony, by contrast, opens with two staggering chords that announce to the world the arrival of a new talent.

Works and composers

JS Bach arr. Webern Ricercar a 6
R Strauss Metamorphosen
Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’