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Schoenberg: Gurrelieder (Stig Andersen/Andreas Conrad/Soile Isokoski/Monica Groop/The Philharmonia Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen) [Double CD, Hybrid SACD, SACD]

Stig Andersen/Andreas Conrad/Soile Isokoski/Monica Groop/Barbara Sukowa/Philharmonia Voices/City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus/The Philharmonia Orchestra , Arnold Schoenberg , Esa-Pekka Salonen Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Composer: Arnold Schoenberg
  • Audio CD (5 Oct 2009)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD, Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Signum Classics
  • ASIN: B002LTJ2XY
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,705 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.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Orchestral Prelude 6:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Nun dampft die Dammerung jeden Ton 3:22£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. O, wenn des Mondes Strahlen leise gleiten 2:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Ross! Mein Ross! Was schleichst de so trag 2:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Stern jubeln, das Meer es leuchtet 2:33£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. So tanzen die Engel vor Gottes Thron nicht 2:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Nun sag'ich dir zum ersten Mal 4:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Es ist Mitternachts Zeit 5:52£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick 6:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Du wunderliche Tove! 4:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Orchestral Prelude 5:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Tauben von Gurre! Sorge qualt mich11:48Album Only

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Herrgott, weisst du, was du tatest 5:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Erwacht, Konig Waldemars Mannen wert! 2:05£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Deckel des Sarges klappert und klappt 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Gegrusst, O Konig, an Gurres See Strand 5:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Mit Toves Stimme flustert der Wald 3:12£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so 'n Aal 6:43£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Du strenger Richter droben 2:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Der Hahn erhebt den zur Kraht 6:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Herr Gansefuss, Frau Gansekraut 8:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Seht, die Sonne 5:37£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Arnold Schöenberg’s Gurrelieder started life in 1900 as a song cycle for two voices and piano, but within a year it was turning into a massive cantata for five soloists, narrator, three four-part male choruses, and a huge orchestra. And by 1911, when Schöenberg finished this neo-Wagnerian epic, his musical language was already embracing atonality.

Gurrelieder is the apogee of his late-romantic writing, and a vital transitional work, which isn’t often performed or recorded. This is the live performance with which Esa-Pekka Salonen launched the  Philharmonia Orchestra’s ‘Vienna: City of Dreams’ season in 2009, and you can hear why it was critically acclaimed for the quality of the soloists, the impact of the choruses, and above all the playing of the Philharmonia – from transparent impressionistic textures to vast, bone-crunching climaxes.

The pacing of those climaxes turns out to be vital to Salonen’s reading: he doesn’t peak too soon, so that despite the excitement of the wild hunt in Part 3, there’s plenty left in the tank for the radiant Hymn to the Sun. As the doomed lovers Waldemar and Tove, Stig Anderson and Soile Isokoski are passionately committed, and Monica Groop’s Song of the Wood Dove is poignantly delivered. Anderson captures Waldemar’s pain and anger, railing against the heavens, while as his jester, Klaus the Fool, Andreas Konrad chatters crazily while the ghostly hunt surges about him. Barbara Sukowa makes an excellent narrator for nature’s renewal, before the chorus welcomes the concluding sunrise.

It’s an exhilarating journey from illicit love to redemption, and the sense of live adrenaline only increases the impact of Schöenberg’s score. The only reservation concerns the recording itself: there’s plenty of colour and dynamic range, but the boxy ambience of the Royal Festival Hall in London robs it of the rich sonic halo the performance deserves. There’s a touch more air to be had if you’re able to listen in surround from the SACD layer, and there’s no doubt that a real occasion has been captured here, great value at mid-price for the two hybrid SACDs. --Andrew McGregor

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Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
If you're interested in the classical music scene at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century please lend your ears at Schoenberg's Gurrelieder. You'll get a perfect example of the musical mannerisms of those 10 years: tonality, schwelgerisch late romanticism, tonality, atonality, twelve tone systems, a huge orchestra, diatonicism and a LONG and LOUD experience. In this (fragmentary) work you get two lovers finding each other, than they get separated by a jealous king (oh woe); the male lover gets angry and threatens to overthrow the King with his undead men (ghostly chorus) - no this isn't Pirates of the Caribbean V. A fool and a Wood Dove comment on the situation, after all a reunion in dead seems to be the best solution (Flying Dutchmen in disguise). Amen. Together again. Pathetic? Not so. Romanticism with CAPITALS. Gurrelieder is much discussed because Schoenberg took 10 years to complete the work after part 1 which is very late romantic a la Mahler-Lieder and Schoenberg's own Verklarte Nacht. The last part Schoenberg closes with very disturbing war-like music in which you won't find atonal overtones but in which you can hear he'd changed his style completely. Stylistically he couldn't finish Gurrelieder in atonal style because you'd get a unbearable inharmonious work. The work isn't suited for a CD recording because the powers unleashed by the orchestra can't be listened to in your living room. You've to experience this music, feel it physically, but performances are rare because of the costs involved - you need an orchestra of 150 and some very fine soloists and a more than competent choir. Happily there're many recordings made of this work over the years. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting, beatuifully transparent Gurrelieder 22 Jan 2010
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format:Audio CD
The Philharmonia has been making up for lost ground by releasing its own in-house recordings to compete with the London Sym. The two orchestras are certainly the finest in London, but I think there's a perception that the LSO is riding high with its stellar Russian conductor, Valery Gergive, while the Philharmonia has taken a back seat. Therefore it's good news that they have hired Salonen as a forward-looking music director, and the first fruit of the new partnership is this gripping, gorgeously played and recorded Gurrelieder.

Schoenberg's massive cantata, an amplified version of what Mahler did in Das Klaegende Lied, calls for such extravagant forces that any performance is an event. There are few bad performances on disc, although Simon Rattle turned in a surprisingly ineffective one on EMI a few years ago. The two lead roles, Waldemar and Tove, ideally call for the best singers of Tristand and Isolde you have at hand. For vocal splendor, I love both the Ozawa and Levine recordings, which allow us to hear the likes of Ben Heppner, Deborah Voigt, and Jessye Norman in their prime. By comparison, the Swedish quasi-heldentenor Stig Andersen and Finnish lyric soprano Solie Isokoski are second best, but both sing very stylishly, and Andersen in particular makes for a moving tragic hero.

What sets tis Gurrelieder apart, however, is Salonen. You'd expect him to provide almost x-ray transparency in Schoenberg's sparkling but very dense orchestration. You'd also expect Salonen to focus on modernist clarity than post-romantic lushness. In both instances, that's what he does. But I never expected such dramatic, almost frenzied pacing in Parts II and III. The Birmingham chorus lights up the sky. Instead of being the usual cool customer, salonen channels his inner Stokowski -- this is Gurrelieder in febrile, swaggering mode. Some of Part I is a bit underpowered, and Groop's Wood Dove isn't a highlight; she's a bit neutral compared to the great Janet Baker on EMI.

Overall, this outstanding recording augurs well for the Salonen era in London. Here's the complete cast:

Waldemar ..........................Stig Andersen
Klaus-Narr ........................Andreas Conrad
Tove ..............................Soile Isokoski
Waldtaube ...... ..................Monica Groop
Bauer ...... ......................Ralf Lukas
Sprecher ..........................Barbara Sukowa

City of Birmingham Chorus, Philharmonia Voices and Philharmonia
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 8 Feb 2012
By Pekinman - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Arnold Schoenberg's great anomaly (for him) Gurre Lieder has been unbelievably fortunate on record. Perhaps it requires such an enormous amount of talent, money and effort to program this gigantic work that all involved are inspired to their greatest heights.
It also, undoubtedly, has to do with the fact that this work contains from start to finish some of the most purely gorgeous sounds ever composed. The sheer size of the orchestral and choral forces overshadows even the hugest Wagnerian demands, which would probably be The Ring cycle. Gurre Lieder is unquestionably scored for the largest orchestra imaginable. Add to that 6 vocal soloists and you've got quite a stage full of performers. Not every orchestra can do this piece simply because of the size of stage required for a successful attempt at its execution.

I first fell under the spell of this stupendous composition as a music student many years ago. It was Rafael Kubelik's fine version from Munich with the great Inge Borkh as Tove and Herbert Schachtschneider as Waldemar. Both, along with Herta Töpper's searing Waldtaube, are still competitive, to say nothing of Kubelik and the forces of the Bavarian Radio. The DG sound is splendid, as it always was in those fairly early days of stereo recordings. DG was always hors concourse back then. I still listen to those old lps from time to time and they have held up very well over the years considering the number of times they have been played.

Then came Seiji Ozawa's excellent set on Philips with the Boston Symphony and the great Jessye Norman as Tove. Though a bit short at the top of her voice her refulgent tone and powerful enunciation of the words make hers a great assumption of the part. And James McCracken was a stentorian and slightly rough Waldemar, not very romantic sounding but dramatic to be sure. Tatiana Troyanos was a very effective Wood Dove but her intrusive vibrato tends to detract from the impact of that great song.

Then came a recording that topped them all, Riccardo Chailly from Berlin in 1985 with possibly the greatest lineup of soloists, including the wonderful Tove of Susan Dunn, the nonpareil Waldemar of Siegfried Jerusalem and, most glorious of all, Brigitte Fassbaender's emotionally obliterating Wood Dove.

Other recordings intervened, Eliahu Inbal from Frankfurt, Claudio Abbado from Vienna, Giuseppe SInopoli from Dresden and James Levine from Munich. All had excellent soloists for the most part, most notably Waltraud Meier's magnetic, scorching Wood Dove for Levine.

Now we have perhaps the finest of them all, if you have to make comparisons. Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra from London just last year, 2011. His soloists are superb though not quite up to Chailly's unbeatable team. What makes this recording so stunning is the conductor himself and the way he shapes every line without coming off as overly-controlling or pedantic. Salonen is an astringent conductor most of the time but here he shows us a romantic side of himself that surprised me over and over as I listened to this performance unfold. The feeling of a live event adds a rapturous commitment from all involved.

Stig Andersen may not have the most beautiful voice as Waldemar but he is deeply romantic-sounding and dramatically saturated in the part. He does not tire at all, nor does he bleat or wobble in what is an extremely long and difficult part. He sings 9 songs over the course of 112 minutes. I certainly prefer him over James McCracken and the beautifully sung but dramatically bland Ben Heppner for Levine. Siegfried Jerusalem (Chailly) is the benchmark in this part. A gorgeous voice and a Hamlet-like tragic demeanor throughout.

Tove is a difficult part to pull off because she must have a voice with a fair amount of flexibility and still possess a near-Isolde-like volume at times. The fabulous top notes should ideally ring out over the huge orchestra, especially in the last of her four songs.
Of all the sopranos who have recorded this part, Soile Isokoski, in this recording, comes near to being ideal, though she is once or twice near-swamped by the enormous sound washing over her. It also sounds like the recording engineers in this otherwise great recording have favored the orchestra over the soprano and tenor soloist. Though, interestingly, Monica Groop's splendid Wood Dove sounds immediate and right in the center of the sound world.

Part Three of Gurre Lieder has always rather lost me. IE, I lose interest because most of the time it comes off as a huge choral wash of sound that can grow muddy in the louder sections. Here, Salonen and Simon Halsey's City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and Aidan Oliver's Philharmonia Voices, have managed to reveal every crystalline detail of this amazing vocal composition.

To top it all is Barbara Sukowa's vivid portrayal of The Summer Wind's Wild Ride at the very end before the stunning final chorus See, the Sun. The final bars of this performance are hair-raising and emotionally over-whelming.

The orchestra and chorus and soloists play and sing note-perfect, which is an astonishing thing in a live performance of this very difficult composition.

In conclusion then, I'd say this new Gurre Lieder from Salonen on Signum Classics is the one to get if you only want one recording of this monumental masterpiece. But I can't imagine wanting only one version of this piece. You should also have the Chailly, at least, as a change of pace, and for Fassbaender's Wood Dove and Jerusalem's Waldemar. But for the ultimate experience I have to give the nod to this fine recording from London.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Luminous Performance of Schönberg's GURRELIEDER 14 Nov 2009
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Arnold Schönberg's symphonic/operatic/song cycle/cantata GURRELIEDER, composed between 1900 -1911, is one of the greatest homages to the era of Romanticism that many felt was crowned by Richard Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde' and 'Parsifal'. The fact that the man who would so emphatically impact the change in music for the new century created it places it in a special aura. It is a work of extraordinary orchestration and writing for the voice, a gigantic creation for large orchestra and large mixed and male choruses, five soloists and speaker (one of the many subtle reminders of Schönberg's innovative thoughts - Sprechstimme - that would become so important later) that tells the tragic medieval love story that includes a veritable tapestry of intricate, powerful emotions and leads to an overwhelmingly beautiful paean to nature.

Who better to interpret this complex work than Esa-Pekka Salonen, a man who not only has mastered the repertoire from all eras but who also is actively engaged in composing works that expand the present orchestral palette. This performance was recorded from the opening work in the Philharmonia's series 'City of Dreams: Vienna 1900 - 1935' performed earlier this year in Festival Hall in London. The score is very deeply embedded in Salonen's psyche and his ability to manage this at times unwieldy score with such precision without sacrificing the inherent lush colors and emotions is uncanny. He has chosen a first rate cast of soloists: Soile Isokoski is a soaringly beautiful Tove, Stig Andersen brings power and anguish to Waldemar, Monica Groop is Waldtaube who gives the Voice of the Wood Dove the entire spectrum of this extended aria its due, Ralf Lukas is Bauer, Andreas Conrad makes a marvelously animated Klaus the Fool, and the role of the Speaker in offered exotically by Barbara Sukowa. The Philharmonia's sound is rich and full on this recording and the men's chorus and mixed chorus (City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and Philharmonia Voices) make the extended choral portions thrilling. There are few performance of 'Gurrelieder' that match the sonically astonishing finale 'Seht, die Sonne' - the unfolding passion that creates the rising of the sun that crowns this epic work. This is as fine a recording of the too rarely heard masterpiece of Schoenberg as will likely ever to appear. Well worth the rather high price of this import. It is simply brilliant! Grady Harp, November 09
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! 6 Sep 2013
By Manuel Pagan - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Whatever Schoeberg's opinion of his work, Gurrelieder is a work as magnificent as the best work around the period, and it is puzzling to me why it is not played more. I ask myself why Schoenberg chose to abandon his considerable might as a composer of great late romantic music, even if part 3 of Gurrelieder is informed by the stylistic changes he had undergone during the 10 years it took him to compose it. I would have loved hearing where he would have gone with this!

This recording is magnificent, carrying more of the epic grandeur of the composition than the recent Simon Rattle recording does. If you own the Rattle, please run out and get this one!
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