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The title of Dallapiccola's "Little Night Music" is Mozartian, but the music itself is of another kind than that of Mozart's renowned serenade. It is closer to Bartók's night music topos. Its origin lies in Antonio Machado's poem Noche de verano (Summer Night), the feel of emptiness and solitude that it minutely catches.
It is not only the poem's image of a deserted village square that the music evokes, but also the mental images of the lonely passer-by who feels like a ghost and is sensitive to the smallest stir or noise. Dallapiccola composed the piece to a commission by Hermann Scherchen in 1954. It is written in free serial technique, which the composer adopted after the war as one of the first after Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern.
- Dr. Ilkka Oramo is Professor of Music Theory at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.