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Schoenberg: Six Songs for Soprano & Orchestra, Kol Nidrei, Golden Calf

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Frequently Bought Together

Schoenberg: Six Songs for Soprano & Orchestra, Kol Nidrei, Golden Calf + Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2; Die Glückliche Hand; Wind Quintet, Op. 26 + Schoenberg - Violin Concerto / A Survivor from Warsaw
Price For All Three: £20.75

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Robert Craft
  • Composer: Arnold Schoenberg
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000VIFLYQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,230 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

6 Chansons Op.8 - Friede auf Erden Op.13 - 6 Pièces - Ei, du Lütte - Kol Nidre Op.39 - Moïse & Aaron ("Le Veau d'or et l'autel" A.2 sc.3) / J. Welch-Babidge, sop. - D. Wilson-Johnson, narr. - Chorale Simon Joly - Orch. Philharmonia - R. Craft, direction

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 May 2010
Format: Audio CD
Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951) composed a great deal of vocal music ranging from songs to choral works to opera. The musical style varies as well, from early romantic works of Schoenberg's student days to difficult, almost impenetrable, music in twelve tones. The variety of Schoenberg's compositions for voice is on display in this CD with Robert Craft and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The disk is part of an ongoing series of releases and reissues of Craft performing much of Schoenberg's output. The five works on this CD are all new releases. They were recorded between 2003 and 2006 at the Abbey Road Studio, London. The Simon Joly Chorale performs on the four choral selections. For the most part, the music on this disk is infrequently heard. I will discuss the works briefly in chronological order.

The CD includes a rarity, a short song for a capella mixed chorus titled "Ei,du Lutte" (Oh, you little one), which Schoenberg composed in 1895 at the age of 21. This little song of about one minute is a delight, perhaps the most accessible music Schoenberg ever wrote. It is simple and fun with none of the complexities of the composer's mature compositions.

In 1903-04, Schoenberg composed a set of six songs for piano and orchestra, opus 8. This set is also rarely performed today but is relatively accessible late romantic music which owes a great deal to Wagner and Richard Strauss. The texts are by a variety of writers. Each of the songs begins and ends with orchestral material. Some of the material is lyrical, while other portions of the songs are full of the passion of later romanticism. According to Craft's liner notes, the fifth song, "Voll jener Susse" (Filled with that Sweetness), set to a text of Petrarch translated by Stephan George, is the most famous of Schoenberg's lieder.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Interesting Schönberg Set... 4 Dec. 2007
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
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This interesting set features vocalise pieces from all Schönberg's artistic periods.

Ei du Lütte (1896) [WoO] for a cappella male chorus is a little part-song setting of a poem by the Holstein poet Klaus Groth, and is typical of Schönberg's FIRST Period--likewise, the Op. 8 Six Orchestral Songs (1905) and the lovely Op. 13 Friede auf Erden (1907): these are works of Jugenstil or Art Nouveau.

Op. 8 is difficult to obtain on CD, which makes this disc quite special. The songs parallel those of Strauss, Mahler, and Zemlinsky. ~:25mins.

Op. 13 (~:09mins), on a lyric by Zürich poet C. F. Meyer, is for a cappella mixed chorus and recalls Brahms' many explorations in the genre: e.g., the Gesänge, Lieder, and Motetten for mixed chorus Opp. 29, 42, 62, 74, 104, 110, etc.

Brahms: Lieder & Romanzen - Secular Choruses
Brahms: Musique Sacrée; Geistliche Chormusick
Choral Masterpieces - Brahms: Drei Gesanges, Gypsy Songs, etc. / Creed, RIAS Kammerchor
Brahms: Lieder und Gesänger

The unusual set of Op. 35 (1930) for a cappella male chorus is a THIRD Period work 4/6ths of which is 12-tone. These songs begin with Schubert and Brahms and reach unto Modernistic abstraction. Schönberg utilizes every art of vocalise writing from "the sweetest cantabile to the liveliest recitative-like declamation." The pieces are largely contrapuntal but with a strong emphasis on chordal harmony. To clarify the texture, Schönberg precisely spaced the vocal lines in a very wide range. To increase the spice, he even employs onomatopoeia! (~:13mins.)

Singphonic Schubert: Complete Edition, Vol. 5
Schubert: Complete Part Songs for Male Voices Vol. 1
Schubert: Complete Part Songs for Male Voices Vol. 2
Schubert: Complete Part Songs For Male Voices, Vol. 4

The Kol Nidre Op. 39 is a LATE Period work from 1938 written for Synagogue use in Los Angeles on the eve of Yom Kippur. Schönberg employs a "serial treatment within a tonal framework. The Kol Nidre is a colourful score: the dramatic introduction includes some imaginatively telling orchestration, notably the graphic description of the Creation of light, with a bell-stroke, flickering trumpet, and whirring flexatone trill." (~:13mins)

The disc ends with a selection from Schönberg's magnum opus Moses und Aron. Enthusiasts would best obtain the comlete oprera directed by Boulez:

Schoenberg - Moses und Aron / Pittman-Jennings · Merritt · Boulez
Arnold Schoenberg: Moses Und Aron/Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Exploring Schoenberg's Vocal Music with Robert Craft 24 Mar. 2010
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951) composed a great deal of vocal music ranging from songs to choral works to opera. The musical style varies as well, from early romantic works of Schoenberg's student days to difficult, almost impenetrable, music in twelve tones. The variety of Schoenberg's compositions for voice is on display in this CD with Robert Craft and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The disk is part of an ongoing series of releases and reissues of Craft performing much of Schoenberg's output. The five works on this CD are all new releases. They were recorded between 2003 and 2006 at the Abbey Road Studio, London. The Simon Joly Chorale performs on the four choral selections. For the most part, the music on this disk is infrequently heard. I will discuss the works briefly in chronological order.

The CD includes a rarity, a short song for a capella mixed chorus titled "Ei,du Lutte" (Oh, you little one), which Schoenberg composed in 1895 at the age of 21. This little song of about one minute is a delight, perhaps the most accessible music Schoenberg ever wrote. It is simple and fun with none of the complexities of the composer's mature compositions.

In 1903-04, Schoenberg composed a set of six songs for piano and orchestra, opus 8. This set is also rarely performed today but is relatively accessible late romantic music which owes a great deal to Wagner and Richard Strauss. The texts are by a variety of writers. Each of the songs begins and ends with orchestral material. Some of the material is lyrical, while other portions of the songs are full of the passion of later romanticism. According to Craft's liner notes, the fifth song, "Voll jener Susse" (Filled with that Sweetness), set to a text of Petrarch translated by Stephan George, is the most famous of Schoenberg's lieder. Jennifer Welch-Babidge is the soprano soloist. It was good to hear this unfamiliar music of Schoenberg's early years.

Set for male a capella chorus, "Friede auf Erden", (Peace on Earth) opus 13 is another infrequently heard piece which dates from 1907 and is also in a late romantic style. Most of this chorus of about 8 minutes has a hushed, serene quality. But the next work on the CD, the Six Pieces for Male Chorus a capella, opus 35, is Schoenberg at his most difficult. Schoenberg wrote the texts for these songs which are on religious, philosophical themes. Of the set, two of the songs are in a relatively accessible tonal style while the remaining four songs are atonal and bristle with close harmonies and a great deal of contrapuntal writing. This set has had infrequent performances but is worth getting to know for listeners who want to learn about Schoenberg.

Schoenberg was born Jewish, converted to Lutheranism as a young man, and formally reconverted to Judaism in 1932-1933. The remaining two works on this CD, (together with the opus 35 discussed above) reflect Schoenberg's growing religious preoccupations. Schoenberg's opera "Moses und Aron" (1932) deals with the Exodus from Egypt and with the episode of the Golden Calf. The opera, written throughout in a jagged twelve tone style, is the most frequently heard of the works on this disk. Craft presents three short excerpts from Act II of the opera which focus on the sacrifices the Israelites are offering to the Calf before Moses returns from Sinai. The music features a quartet of naked virgins which, unfortunately, are nowhere to be seen on the CD.

The final work on this CD is Schoenberg's setting of Kol Nidre for Rabbi-Narrator, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra, opus 39. Schoenberg composed this work in 1938, after he had moved to Los Angeles. The Kol Nidre is a solemn prayer recited on the eve of the Day of Atonement seeking absolution from vows and sins. Schoenberg had difficulties with the traditional text of the prayer. He recast the text so that it became an invitation for Jews who had abandoned their faith in favor of another religion to return and pray with the congregation. Schoenberg had the Inquisition in mind as a historical situation, but the theme perhaps applied to his own case as well. The work opens with a lengthy and atonal orchestral passage which suggests the infinity of creation. The text, which is in English, begins with a declamatory spoken passage for the Rabbi which is soon joined by choral voices of prayer and repentance. This is a powerful little-known work of Schoenberg's maturity, which I had the good fortune to hear live a few years ago in a performance at the Washington National Cathedral. David Wilson-Johnson declaims the part of the rabbi in this performance.

Texts of "Ei, du Lutte" and of the opus 8 and 13 songs are available on the Naxos website without translation. It is unfortunate that English texts are unprovided. This CD is available individually or as part of a compilation, The Works of Arnold Schoenberg, Vol. 2 - The Robert Craft Edition the second in the Naxos series, of Schoenberg's music conducted by Robert Craft.

Robin Friedman
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
another enterprising Schoenberg album 9 Sept. 2010
By Ray Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is another of the Naxos Schoenberg CDs which provides a variety of music to suit different tastes. Given that the pieces are so different from each other, I wonder if they could have been compiled and presented differently. I have no reservations on the performances or sound quality. The Six Songs are no more difficult to listen to than the Lieder of Mahler or Strauss. There are some lovely passages and the singing of Jennifer Welch-Babidge is first class. Anyone who likes either the above or Schoenberg's Gurrelieder should try to hear this. The early and mature choral works are well done, with the Ei, du Lutte quite charming. The Kol Nidre piece, according to the notes, has some modifications to the original Jewish prayer which resulted in it being banned for synagogue performance. I question whether the work calls for what is described on the cover as a Rabbi-Narrator or simply a Narrator. There is no reference in the commentary about David Wilson-Johnson as to his rabbinical education, if he had any. This work may not appeal to some purists, but I think it should be listened to as a piece of music, much like Act I Scene II of Parsifal. Alongside "A Survivor from Warsaw", this is another very original setting for reciter, chorus and orchestra. One has to marvel at Schoenberg's versatility. The closing 3 excerpts from Moses und Aron, of which the first and last are solely orchestral, are also successful. The opening Dance of the Butchers in my view could be a great concert piece in the right programme. In some ways it has a bit of the feel of the Dance of the 7 Veils from Salome, taken to a different level entirely. The 12 tone writing has a lot of rhythmic vitality and brilliant scoring. It's quite fun to listen to.

The cover art features The Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin. It is far more traditional in style than most of the other works replicated as cover art in this Naxos Schoenberg series. It still works for me though.

As usual, the documentation is excellent and invaluable.
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