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Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2; Die Glückliche Hand; Wind Quintet, Op. 26 CD

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  • Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2; Die Glückliche Hand; Wind Quintet, Op. 26
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Product details

  • Conductor: Robert Craft
  • Composer: Arnold Schoenberg
  • Audio CD (31 Mar. 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0015DM3EM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 216,546 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38: I. AdagioPhilharmonia Orchestra 7:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38: II. Con fuocoPhilharmonia Orchestra11:30Album Only
  3. Die gluckliche Hand, Op. 18: Scene 1: Still, o schweigeMark Beesley 3:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Die gluckliche Hand, Op. 18: Scene 2: Ja, o ja! Das Bluhen, o SehnsuchtMark Beesley 5:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Die gluckliche Hand, Op. 18: Scene 3: Das kann man einfacher!Mark Beesley 6:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Die gluckliche Hand, Op. 18: Scene 4: Musstest du's wieder erlebenMark Beesley 5:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Wind Quintet, Op. 26: I. SchwungvollThe New York Woodwind Quintet11:55Album Only
  8. Wind Quintet, Op. 26: II. Anmutig und heiter: ScherzandoThe New York Woodwind Quintet 9:09Album Only
  9. Wind Quintet, Op. 26: III. Etwas langsam (Poco adagio)The New York Woodwind Quintet 8:44Album Only
10. Wind Quintet, Op. 26: IV. RondoThe New York Woodwind Quintet 8:22Album Only

Product Description

Symphonie de chambre n°2 op.38 - Die glückliche Hand op.18 - Quintette pour vents op.26 / Mark Beesley, basse - Chorale Simon Joly - Quintette à vents de New York - Philharmonia Orchestra - Robert Craft, direction

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mark A. Meldon TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 April 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This Naxos reissue of music recorded mainly in 2000 and originally released on Koch in the USA continues this great "complete works" series. As with the rest of the recently-released Naxos CDs, we benefit from great sonics, so necessary with the wide dynamic range found in much of Schoenberg's work.

Here we have the really quite pretty Chamber Symphony # 2 and the rather spooky Die gluckliche Hand, the fourth movement of which is quite scary! The remainder of the disc is made up with the Wind Quintet, a virtuoso atonal piece that I understand to be very difficult to play.

The CD comes with the usual excellent notes from Mr Craft and I look forward to the next instalment eagerly.

Highly recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Exploring Schoenberg with Robert Craft 12 Dec. 2009
By Robin Friedman - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The conductor and scholar Robert Craft is an acknowledged expert on Schoenberg and Stravinsky. He has recorded a series of works of Schoenberg on the Koch label which, together with new recordings, have been reissued on Naxos. I have been taking the opportunity to hear Schoenberg's works in detail through a five CD box set of Craft's, The Works of Arnold Schoenberg, Vol. 1 which includes this individually-issued CD. Each release tends to present a spectrum of Schoenberg's music, from his late romantic early compositions to the twelve tone works of his maturity. The CDs also range from relatively familiar Schoenberg to the obscure. Craft has written detailed program notes for each volume.

The three works on this CD show the variety of his musical styles. Although completed in 1939, well after Schoenberg had developed his twelve-tone style, the Chamber Symphony no. 2, opus 38 is an early work which the composer began in 1906 but then put aside for more than 30 years. This two-movement work of less than 20 minutes duration is accessible but rarely heard. Although mostly composed earlier, the development of the composer's style between 1906 and 1939 seems to me to show. The opening movement, adagio, is taut. It develops and varies a single lengthy theme through its seven-minute course. The finale marked con fuoco begins with a more relaxed, punctuated theme. As the movement progresses, the theme is subjected to a great deal of counterpoint. Tempos slow near the end of the piece as the work comes to a broad conclusion. Although this work is generally considered to show a late romantic style, its harmony, tight construction, and fugal character make it more of a modern piece.

The second piece on this CD, "Die gluckliche Hand" (The Lucky Hand or The Hand of Fate) opus 18 is a one-act opera Schoenberg completed in 1913. There is an earlier and still available recording of this work conducted by Pierre Boulez. Schoenberg wrote the libretto to the score as well which, unfortunately, is not included with this CD. The work is in four highly impressionistic and emotive scenes. When performed on the stage, the music and acting are to be done to the accompaniment of light of changing colors -- perhaps an early psychedelic effect. The opera includes one singing character, the "Man", two characters who perform in pantomine, two small choruses, one male and one female, and an offstage orchestra, The story is very strange as Schoenberg sardonically observes and comments upon himself, his artistic ambitions, and his cuckolding. The first and fourth scenes include singing by the chorus who mock and comment upon the Man's artistic and personal endeavors. The Man appears only in the second and third scenes. He sings short declamatory phrases interrupted by many shrieks and outbursts from the orchestra. The story centers upon the Man's creation of a jewel for his faithless beloved. The jewel is destroyed, the beloved is lost, and the Man's artistic integrity threatened. This is a highly subjective modernist piece with, I think, more of later romanticism in it than the Chamber Symphony No 2.

The CD concludes with a work entirely in the twelve-tone style, Schoenberg's Wind Quintet opus 26. This four-movement work dates from 1924 and is scored for horn, bassoon, oboe, flute, and clarinet. It is performed here by the New York Woodwind Quintet in a recording dating from 2004. Most wind quintets tend to be more accessible in character than, for example, the more austure form of the string quartet. But not Schoenberg's. This quintet is difficult in its uncompromising 12 tone style and in the virtuosity required from its performers. It is a work of high seriousness. According to Craft's notes on the piece, the work took one hour to perform at its premier. The work is 38 minutes in duration on this CD by the highly gifted wind ensemble.

I found it useful to look at the conservative elements of the work in listening to its formidable 12 tone idiom. The four movements follow the format of a traditional classical chamber piece with an opening sonata -like movement, a second movement scherzo, and slow third movement, and a concluding rondo. The piece also seems relatively traditional in its rhythmic structure. The instrumental parts are difficult, as noted, but the voices and themes lead from one instrument to the other. The 12 tone method gives the work a tight construction of related movements. The expressive character of the four-movement chamber work does, with repeated listenings, seem to me to come through. With his new compositional style, Schoenberg, I think, was trying to take a traditional form and use it in a fresh way, shorn of the accretions, conventionalities, and expectations that had developed over many
years. He wanted to concentrate on his musical expression to avoid platitudes and ease, and he demanded his listeners do the same in hearing this music. This wind quintet remains difficult. But for me it rewarded the effort it took to hear it in repeated listenings.

It is good to have the opportunity to explore the many-faceted works of a seminal but still controversial 20th Century composer in these budget-priced recordings by Robert Craft. I am looking forward to hearing and learning more about Schoenberg in the remaining CDs in this Naxos collection.

Robin Friedman
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Splendid Schönberg Set... 6 July 2008
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Naxos' new (re)issue of Robert Craft's most recent Schönberg realizations (2000) is a real treasure for it features an easily accessible orchestral piece--(the Second Chamber Symphony); a rare Expressionistic chamber opera--(The Midas Touch); and Schönberg's exquisite Wind Quintet in the purest 12-tone.
The Second Chamber Symphony (eb-minor) wasn't completed till Schönberg's American years; however, it was begun in 1906 as a book-end to the First Chamber Symphony, both written in the most extravagant Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) style. When Schönberg re-addressed and finished the work, he did so in his First Period style. So, it's an early work which simply had a long gestation period.
Its rich, gorgeous, and dramatic matter and treatment make it a prime example of late-Romanticism in the Bruckner/Brahms/Mahler vein.
The Expressionistic (i.e., hyper-Romantic) chamber opera Die Glückliche Hand ("The Midas Touch" clearer than "The Lucky Hand") is the second of Schönberg's four chamber operas--preceded by the monodrama Erwartung ("Prescience" clearer than "Expectation"), and succeeded by "Jacob's Ladder" and "From Day to Day."
The Glückliche Hand deals with alienation and love (Eros and Thanatos) in a brief tale of an Artist who creates a Jewel for a Woman who faithlessly departs for an Other.
It's in the vein of Kafka's short story "A Common Confusion": the theme of Desire, Effort, and Failure in a Fallen World is repeated endlessly...
Interestingly, for the work's staging Schönberg instituted a synesthetic spectrum-light show to correspond with the music--something of the Gesamtkunstwerk which was being explored since the turn of the century; in this case most pointedly too Skryabin had explored this colour-chord correspondence. (Hauer also had considered the matter.)
Glückliche Hand is not too long, and fairly interesting.
Lastly on this nice disc we have Schönberg's exquisite Wind Quintet with his purest 12-tone content in the very most Classical style. It's really a wonderful chamber piece and quintessentially representative of Schönberg's Ethos.
The Langsam (slow) movement induces Theta- brainwaves of meditative dreamy consciousness...
At this inexpensive price, this is a great opportunity for anyone to try to explore the mystery of Schönberg's Art: an oeuvre equivalent to Einstein's physical theories, Escher's graphic works, Bergson's cognitive explications, et cetera.
The Complete Stories
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (Penguin Classics)
M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work (Special Edition)
Time and Free Will
Scriabin: Complete Piano Sonatas
Josef Matthias Hauer: Zwölftonspiele
Schoenberg in Hollywood
Schoenberg - Die Glückliche Hand · Variations for Orchestra, Op.31 · Verklärte Nacht / Nimsgern · BBC Orch. · NY Phil. · Boulez
Schoenberg: Suite / Wind Quintet
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
another enterprising Schoenberg Naxos disc 6 Sept. 2010
By Ray Barnes - Published on
Format: Audio CD
As noted elsewhere, this CD has 3 very different works. As for the pantomime Die gluckliche Hand (The Hand of Fate), I am reserving judgment for the work until I have heard it a bit more - and I wish I could see it on DVD, since the visual element seems to matter a great deal. The performance sounded fine. The compositional style is typical of early Schoenberg, with angular, heavily scored writing.

The Chamber Symphony No. 2 is marvellous, and has a sound world that is really quite unique even among Schoenberg's output, different even from the 1st symphony. I wished at the end of its roughly 19 minutes that the piece was 4 movements instead of 2. Robert Craft claims in his notes that the second movement is harder to play than any piece by Stravinsky. It is not unmelodic at all, but indeed has some unique sounds that require great virtuosity. This is right at or near the top of my favourite works of this composer.

Finally is the Wind Quintet Op. 26, scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. This 12-tone score is so demanding that (again referencing the notes) Anton Webern conducted it many years ago (performed by members of the VPO). For my taste the first movement marked Schwungvoll (full of gusto) was tough to listen to, the writing was astringent to the point of shrillness, but the piece was most definitely vital and energetic. The last 3 movements were a bit easier hearing and at times surprisingly melodic. It's just over 38 minutes, and indeed a major accomplishment for the ensemble to get through it without taking longer. On the whole I liked this better than the Hand of Fate, after the initial auditory jolt. The tone color of the horn writing is a nice contrast to the other woodwinds. Regardless of how one may feel about the music, the performance is masterful.

As before, the notes and sound are excellent, with the cover art fine too, Sun by Ulrich Osterloh.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
three stars 13 May 2012
By Muslit - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The Chamber Symphony No. 2 hardly sounds like a 'chamber' symphony under Craft - more like a large orchestra playing one, although I think the end of the second movement seems to benefit from a larger group. The recording sound is decent enough, but it doesn't have a lot of dimension to it, so some of the main melodic lines in complex passages are not differentiated from the secondary ones (always a problem in Schoenberg). A better rendition, in terms of clarity, I think, is by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on DGG, where the result IS more 'chamber-like', and things are clearer.

I'm a fan of the Woodwind Quintet (and I assume it is NOT conducted here), but I am somewhat disappointed by this performance. For one, the recording seems to favor the horn over the other instruments. I'm not sure this is a decision on the part of the performers, or a result of the recording balance, but at times the work sounds more like a concerto for horn and woodwind quartet, than a woodwind quintet, the bassoon especially being regulated to secondary status. Again, there isn't much dimension to the dense polyphony - everything often seems forefront (that is, when the horn is not so prominent), leading to tedium. Also, the numerous 'ritardandi' in this score (and there are many) are handled rather mechanically - there isn't a real musical 'feel' to them. It is easy for the virtuosity of certain passages in this quintet to stand out of context to their immediate surroundings, and unfortunately, that is the case here. They don't happen naturally, but rather suddenly, as if to say, 'now listen to the awesomeness and technicality of the instrumental writing'. As a result, in terms of musical discourse, these passages come off rather chaotically. I'm fond of the old recording on DGG of the woodwinds from the Vienna Philharmonic. I think it is unavailable commercially, but you can still hear it on YouTube. The recording is not only warmer sounding, but also has a naturalness and musicality which I'm not hearing on the Naxos release.

Die Gluckliche Hand is still an extraordinary sounding piece 100 years after it was written, in spite of its 'libretto', which, while symbolic, is largely misogynous by today's (and maybe yesterday's) standards, and heavily indebted to Otto Weininger's 'Sex and Character' (the 'sexual hysteria of women' - [yea]) - a kind of 'dream-confession' drama with music, inspired by Schoenberg's personal life. Again, this recording is a vast improvement over the one Craft recorded decades ago for Columbia, but I think a live performance (DVD) is one that would do the most justice to this work (perhaps on a double bill with 'Erwartung'), with its colored light show and dream-like staging. For instance, that Bachian 'gone-wild' unison passage in the basses, cellos, harp, and low woodwinds ('Kraftig Bewegt'), seems more tame here than it would in a live performance. Nevertheless, it's welcome to have a recording of this seldom-heard work.
Exceptionally beautiful Schoenberg...not a misprint 28 Jan. 2010
By scholarboy - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anyone not familiar with the reputation of Arnold Schoenberg will no doubt be extremely confused upon hearing this wonderful recording. Of course Schoenberg wrote some of the thorniest, most abstruse intellectually demanding music, but he also wrote some of the most elegant, stylish, well-crafted and harmonically ingenious music as well. More importantly, he had a great melodic gift, even if he did not always chose to express it, and a soulful expressive element that shows itself perhaps too infrequently, but does so in these works. Robert Craft's conducting, and the work of the Philharmonia Orchestra and the New York Woodwind Quintet are perfectly in tune with the music and Crafts' very succinct notes are an added bonus. At the ridiculously cheap price asked by Naxos it is an unbelievable value, and along with Marin Alsop's wonderful Barber CD containing the Capticorn Concerto and other works (also on Naxos) this CD takes its place as a must have for twentieth century music lovers.
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