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  • Schoenberg: Pelleas Und Melisande, Variations For Orchestra, Violin Concerto & Piano Concerto
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Schoenberg: Pelleas Und Melisande, Variations For Orchestra, Violin Concerto & Piano Concerto

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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Arnold Schoenberg
  • Audio CD (19 Mar. 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B000N3AWCA
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,416 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mark A. Meldon TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 April 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This Warner Apex 2-CD release resurrects recordings made by Erato in the 1980s and 1990s. It's an excellent purchase for those wanting to dip their ears in the sound-world of that genius, Arnold Schoenberg.

The first CD contains the rather Straussian tone-poem Pelleas und Melisande, Op.5 from 1903 and the stunning Variations for Orchestra, Op.31, from 1926/28, the first twelve-note composition for large orchestra. The recordings were made the Orchestra Hall, Chicago, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Boulez. The original Erato disc Schoenberg: Pelleas & Melisande is now a very expensive collectors item. Boulez is his usual clear and compelling self and the recording is excellent. I also like an alternative Supraphon recording of Pelleas und Melisande Debussy - Pelléas & Melisande.

Pierre Boulez is also the conductor on the second disc and this contains Schoenberg's Violin Concerto, Op.36, with Pierre Amoyel as violinist. This work should be better known, and Amoyel gives us a thrilling reading although, perhaps, Hilary Hahn's more recent recording would be preferred Schoenberg: Violin Concerto / Sibelius: Violin Concerto op.47.

Peter Serkin is the pianist in Schoenberg's Piano Concerto, Op.42 and this is a very fine reading of this under-appreciated work.
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By Marc Bauwens on 30 Jan. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
unknown to the great public but a very great composer!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Four major Schoenberg works, two world-class orchestras 11 Jun. 2010
By Autonomeus - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Pierre Boulez leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra in four major Schoenberg works on this 2-disc set. "Pelleas und Melisande, op. 5" (1903 -- 40'12) and "Variations for Orchestra, op. 31" (1926/8 -- 20'06) were recorded in 1991 with the CSO, while the "Violin Concerto, op. 36" (1936 -- 33'38) and "Piano Concerto" (1942 -- 21'03) were recorded in 1984 and 1985 with the LSO. This Apex set is a reissue of the earlier Erato set, which is still available.

"Pelleas und Melisande" is a symphonic poem, "after Maurice Maeterlinck." Schoenberg's first composition for orchestra, it is an accomplished work of its kind, a synthesis of Brahms and Wagner. This late Romantic music is not in the same league as Mahler's symphonies, but then Schoenberg was not to follow in the footsteps of his mentor and supporter. From the early Schoenberg we jump to the late Schoenberg, applying his 12-tone system to orchestral writing for the first time with the "Variations for Orchestra." Boulez and the CSO produce a most impressive feat here, transforming what I had thought of as a work more to be admired for its formal architecture than actually enjoyed, into a truly evocative journey. Slightly slower and more spacious and with a deeper bottom than the earlier Boulez recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, this is clearly the version to hear. The lifelong influence of Brahms is strong in this piece as Schoenberg pursues the classical variations form using his new language.

The second disc, with the LSO, is not as impressive as the first -- the sound is a bit thin and remote -- but it affords a great opportunity to hear two of Schoenberg's late 12-tone works back to back.

The "Violin Concerto" has long been considered to be a lesser work, and not often performed, until its spectacular revival by Hillary Hahn, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with the Grammy-award winning recording of 2008. This earlier recording by Pierre Amoyal with Boulez and the LSO has a completely different personality than the acclaimed Hahn recording. Amoyal/LSO has a long sweep to it, and a tragic cast, while Hahn/SRSO is up close and detailed, more energetic and striving. Not only the violin but the orchestral detail is much richer in the more recent recording. It is clear why violin virtuoso afficionados were ecstatic about Hahn's performance, which is substantially faster than Amoyal's. But I find something profound in this earlier performance which I would not want to do without. It's like aerial photography in contrast to a close-up -- the big picture is more clear. And Amoyal brings an evocative tragic tone that while not as virtuosic as Hahn, is in some passages more moving.

The "Piano Concerto" is here performed by Peter Serkin. While perfectly fine, I do not find the performance to be as compelling as the others I've heard. Maurizio Pollini's recording with Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic features more athletic pianism, but the absolutely stunning recording by Mitsuko Uchida with Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra is clearly the best of the three. As with the Hahn/Salonen "Violin Concerto," the detail is much greater in the Uchida/CO than in this Serkin/LSO recording, and much greater than in the Pollini/BPO as well. The dynamics are much greater too -- in this recording it's as if everything has been compressed. Boulez clearly outdid himself with the more recent recording from 2000.

But still, this is an excellent compilation of orchestral Schoenberg. Personally I am not that interested in the early Schoenberg and was attracted by the three late 12-tone works. But the combination works well. What is missing is the atonal period that came in-between, arguably featuring Schoenberg's most radical compositions. While his music is still rejected by many classical listeners, what comes across here is Schoenberg's respect for and continuity with the 19th century tradition. Clearly many of the world's best performers agree.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not To Be Missed 28 May 2013
By brotagonist - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This album juxtaposes the early romantic masterpiece, Pelleas und Melisande, with three of Schoenberg's later atonal masterpieces. In pairing two classic albums that have long been out of print, Apex has made available to discerning music lovers some of Schoenberg's orchestral atonality. These fascinating masterpieces of the mid-twentieth century are not to be missed.
Five Stars 6 April 2015
By Michael E. Lee - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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