I bought this recording some years ago now, ten years ago, I think. I have listened to it fairly regularly ever since. Schoenberg's music isn't always easy to get to know. Classical radio stations don't often schedule his music - the three radio stations which play "Classical" music in my city, Adelaide, don't often play Schoenberg or Berg or Webern, the other members of the Second Viennese School. So my knowledge of the music of Schoenberg has largely come via my own efforts and my music teacher at high school, Ms Arianna Dobbie, who presented us with Serialism one year - via the Piano Variations of Webern. I still love that work.
Marianne Pousseur and the Ensemble Musique Oblique, directed by Philippe Herreweghe, present us with a very warm and natural sounding Pierrot Lunaire. Mademoiselle Pousseur is not a conventional "Classical" singer, she seems to be more of what we may call a "chanteuse" - a nightclub singer. This is probably exactly what Schoenberg wanted, because Pierrot Lunaire really is a kind of cabaret piece, albeit very sophisticated and "cerebral" cabaret! Schoenberg even suggests that the singer might wear a Pierrot costume while performing the work. It is a pity Ute Lemper has never been lured into recording this work!
However, Marianne Pousseur does an admirable job of interpreting the poems of Albert Giraud and Schoenberg's rather loose vocal lines.
Ensemble Musique Oblique provide us with a very colourful and stylish interpretation of the music and the experience of the maestro, Philippe Herreweghe, in period instrument / HIP music making informs this recording.
The Kammersymphonie, op. 9, transcribed by Anton Webern, is a very attractive piece of music. It is one not easily engaged with, like some of Schoenberg's piano music, but it is worth the effort.
All things considered, this is an excellent CD, but one in which the listener has to do a little work to "get at". For those who are new to Schoenberg and Pierrot Lunaire, I cannot recommend the 'One Night. One Life' DVD, with Christine Schäfer, too highly. It really brought Schoenberg to life for me. Ms Schäfer's CD recording with Pierre Boulez on DG is also excellent. Christine Schäfer is more of a conventional soprano and those who prefer a more "Classical" singer in the Pierrot Lunaire may prefer her to the less Classically "cultivated" voice of Marianne Pousseur. I like both.