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Robert Craft Edition 1 Box set


Price: £22.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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£22.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Sept. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B002JP9HTE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 April 2010
The best way to explore the music of an unfamiliar composer is to immerse oneself in it. This is particularly true for difficult and demanding music, such as the works of the 20th Century composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874 -- 1951) whose music still provokes a broad spectrum of critical reactions. With the advent of budget priced CDs, it is relatively easy for anyone with the time and desire to do so to hear and try to respond to Schoenberg's music.

Robert Craft is a conductor and scholar of note who has deep knowledge of Schoenberg's music as well as that of Stravinsky's. Over the years, he has recorded Schoenberg's music extensively, and the results of his efforts, together with that of supporting artists, have been made available on the budget-priced Naxos label. The five CD's in this set also are available individually, which encourages listening to each CD and work in detail. I supplemented my listening by reading Craft's extensive program notes on each work together with Malcolm MacDonald's book "Schoenberg" written as part of the Master Musicians series.

In approaching Schoenberg, it is worth remembering that all music speaks to the heart and the emotions. Schoenberg was a modernist who found a need to expand the language of musical expression. It does Schoenberg a disservice to regard him as a "cerebral" or "intellectual" composer. Similarly, in hearing the 12 tone pieces for which Schoenberg has become notorious, it is best to try simply to hear and respond to the music rather than to try to pick out the details of the tone row. Schoenberg developed his musical language as a tool for expression rather than as an academic exercise.

Each of the five CDs in this set includes a variety of types of works by Schoenberg.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Schoenberg and Craft: A bargain you can not afford to miss 16 Nov. 2009
By Y.P. - Published on Amazon.com
Robert Craft is most noted for his association with Igor Stravinsky: a close friend and a co-author of books, but he also knows very well the music of the Second Viennese School, esp. Schoenberg's music.(*) Naturally his interpretation of their works carries some weight of "authority".

Indeed, there is not a bad performance here. Among a few small segments of Schoenberg scores I've studied for pleasure, Craft has shown precise execution and intimate understanding, if not extrovert emotional involvement. Furthermore, there are a few lesser-known, but definitely worthwhile, works which are only available here, at least in the Amazon catalogue. Another BIG plus is Robert Craft's own very informative liner notes. A must read!

That said, not all performances here are my top drawer Schoenberg. For example, I think any serious Schoenberg collection should have Hilary Hahn's beautiful performance of Schoenberg Violin Concerto Op.36, one of my favorite violin concertos, and Karajan's stunning recording of "Variations for Orchestra" Op.31, among my favorite Schoenberg scores.

Here is a list of 5 CDs:
Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2
Schoenberg: Violin Concerto; A Survivor from Warsaw
Schoenberg: Five Pieces for Orchestra; Cello Concerto (after Monn); Piano Quartet (Brahms orch. Schoenberg)
Schoenberg: Serenade; Variations, Op. 31; Bach Orchestrations
Schoenberg: Concerto for String Quartet; Lied der Waldtaube; The Book of the Hanging Gardens

One notable novelty of this set is that it contains quite a few re-work of the past masterworks. (However, I must confess that these are not my favorite Schoenberg.) For example, Concerto for String Quartet was based on Handel's Concerto Grosso in B-flat Op.6 No.7, and must be counted as the most "tuneful" of Schoenberg's music. After all, the tunes come from Handel! The Cell Concerto was also "freely adapted" from Georg Monn's 1746 Cembalo Concerto. The orchestration of Brahms' Piano Quartet seems to start getting attention from conductors. (For example, Simon Rattle put it in one of the Berliner's EuroKonzert program.) There are also 3 Bach orchestrations.

Naxos has been issuing or re-issuing some wonderful recordings at budget prices. For a few years, it has been re-issuing Robert Craft Collection at the Naxos price: $8.99 per disc.(**) Now, this set collects 5 of them for under $30, with average listening time per disc more than 75 minutes! Furthermore, it includes a short (radio) interview with Arnold Schoenberg which is only available here.

I hope this set sells well and very soon Volume II will come out. (I am holding off further purchase on the Craft Collection for now.) At this price, this is a set you cannot afford to miss.(***)

Highly recommended.

--------------------
(*) In fact, some have suspected it was through his influence that Stravinsky started to infuse serialism into his composition palette.

(**) My understanding is that these were originally issued by Koch about a decade earlier. Kudos to Naxos for making them available.

(***) By the way, this box contains 5 individually shrink-wrapped CDs, like all other Naxos box collections I've purchased. So even if you already have some in the collection, it still makes sense to buy the set and give away or sell the duplicates.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Exploring the Music of Schoenberg with Robert Craft 20 Jan. 2010
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
The best way to explore the music of an unfamiliar composer is to immerse oneself in it. This is particularly true for difficult and demanding music, such as the works of the 20th Century composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874 -- 1951) whose music still provokes a broad spectrum of critical reactions. With the advent of budget priced CDs, it is relatively easy for anyone with the time and desire to do so to hear and try to respond to Schoenberg's music.

Robert Craft is a conductor and scholar of note who has deep knowledge of Schoenberg's music as well as that of Stravinsky's. Over the years, he has recorded Schoenberg's music extensively, and the results of his efforts, together with that of supporting artists, have been made available on the budget-priced Naxos label. The five CD's in this set also are available individually, which encourages listening to each CD and work in detail. I supplemented my listening by reading Craft's extensive program notes on each work together with Malcolm MacDonald's book "Schoenberg" written as part of the Master Musicians series.

In approaching Schoenberg, it is worth remembering that all music speaks to the heart and the emotions. Schoenberg was a modernist who found a need to expand the language of musical expression. It does Schoenberg a disservice to regard him as a "cerebral" or "intellectual" composer. Similarly, in hearing the 12 tone pieces for which Schoenberg has become notorious, it is best to try simply to hear and respond to the music rather than to try to pick out the details of the tone row. Schoenberg developed his musical language as a tool for expression rather than as an academic exercise.

Each of the five CDs in this set includes a variety of types of works by Schoenberg. Thus the compilation gives a sense of the depth and breadth of Schoenberg's musical vision. I offer some comments as a guide to the types of works included in this set.

Throughout his life, Schoenberg was involved with transcribing the music of earlier composers. These works, in which Schoenberg combines another idiom with his own, present a way of making the composer accessible and showing his relationship with his predecessors. Thus this set offers the opportunity to hear Schoenberg's famous transcription of Brahms' piano quartet, opus 25, for orchestra together with his orchestral transcription of three Bach works for organ. Schoenberg also transcribed a Handel concerto into a highly difficult work for orchestra and string quartet and a harpsichord concerto by the early classical composer Monn into a cello concerto intended for Pablo Casals. All four of these works are included here.

Schoenberg's early music is sometimes described by the term "expressivist" and it follows heavily on late romanticism with elements of Mahler, Wagner, and Brahms. The instrumental compositions from this period include the Chamber Symphony no. 2, a remarkable work which Schoenberg completed late in his life, together with the five pieces for orchestra, opus 16. Vocal compositions from this "expressivist" period include the song-cycle "The Book of Hanging Gardens" setting poems by Stephan George, one of my favorities in this collection, the short opera "Die gluckliche Hand", and a transcription for chamber orchestra of an aria from Schoenberg's massive early work "Gurrelieder."

I want to turn to the music using in whole or in part the twelve tone method of composition. The Serenade for seven instruments and bass soloist makes use of twelve tones in one of its seven movements. Thus this work offers a good transition into hearing this music. The suite for piano opus 25 is Schoenberg's first complete work in 12 tones, and it helps to listen to it with the Baroque dance models in mind which inspired the piece. The wind quintet opus 26 remains a difficult and dense piece. And the two instrumental masterworks in 12 tones in this set are the Variations for Orchestra, opus 31, in which Schoenberg uses the notes for the name of Bach (B, A,C, B-flat) and the thornily romantic violin concerto.

Some of Schoenberg's late masterworks combining 12 tone with other techniques were impassioned vocal pieces. In particular "A Survivor from Warsaw" gives a grim portrayal of the Holocaust while Schoenberg's setting of Byron's poem "Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte" attack tyranny in all its guises. Other late vocal works, including the setting of Psalm 130 and the Prelude to Genesis reflect the religious character of Schoenberg's vision and his growing attachment in later life to Judaism.

With patience and effort, I have found this music rewarding. I am looking forward to hearing the successor volumes of Schoenberg and Craft on Naxos. For those readers who are interested, I am attaching links to each individual volume included in this set.

Robin Friedman

Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2
Schoenberg: Violin Concerto; A Survivor from Warsaw
Schoenberg: Five Pieces for Orchestra; Cello Concerto (after Monn); Piano Quartet (Brahms orch. Schoenberg)
Schoenberg: Serenade; Variations, Op. 31; Bach Orchestrations
Schoenberg: Concerto for String Quartet; Lied der Waldtaube; The Book of the Hanging Gardens
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Schoenberg even for who hate Schoenberg 19 Oct. 2011
By Nelson Jose De Camargo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This box set contains five CDs with some of the most important works by Schoenberg. Not only Schoenberg's compositions, but also arrangements of Haendel, Bach, Brahms, and Monn. I confess that I am not a fan of Schoenbergs's music, but this box set is quite enjoyable. The interpreters are all firt class, the sound quality excellent, the booklets comprehensive, with texts in English and German, librettos and photos. In CD 1 there is a short interview with Mr. Schoenberg. And the price is a bargain! Recomended!
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