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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good selection of 20th Century wind ensemble music, 29 Jan 2007
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maximus (manchester, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berg: Chamber Concerto - Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto, Dumbarton Oaks, 8 Miniatures (Audio CD)
Although these are works not purely for Winds, the emphasys of the pieces is on woodwind and brass small ensemble playing. I had never listened to Berg properly before, but this piece gives a very good introduction to a composer who is often difficult to appreciate because even now the music sounds very modern and dissonant. However, under the direction of Boulez, you find yourself "getting" the piano and winds work and leaves you wanting to listen to more of the same. Boulez clearly has a unique insight into 20th century music and the Stravinsky works are superbly performed too. In particular the Ebony concerto.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CACOPHONY FOR THE MASSES, 2 Mar 2003
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DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berg: Chamber Concerto - Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto, Dumbarton Oaks, 8 Miniatures (Audio CD)
When the Rite of Spring was premiered shortly before WW1 there was a bad-mannered riot in the theatre. 90 years later Stravinsky does not seem much more radical than Brahms, and I was surprised to see that all 3 of the Stravinsky items here are later in date than Berg's Chamber Concerto. Assuming then that Stravinsky is a fully accepted classic these days, maybe I can use his comparative popularity to do my little bit towards 'popularising' Berg, or at least reducing the level of antipathy and indifference to him. In the last resort if you still find you can't put up with him, you will always have a very good set of Stravinsky performances at a very reasonable price.
Persuading people to listen to Berg is not helped by supercilious remarks by Boulez that he is 'of course very romantic' or words to that effect. He is quite obviously not romantic in the way Strauss or Elgar are romantic, and I do not necessarily acquit Boulez of pseudism and affectation in talking like this. I guess that most people getting to know Berg start with the violin concerto which can, at a stretch, be called romantic in the familiar sense. For the chamber concerto this takes a bigger stretch, but I can still hear Brahms in it. What its idiom resembles is Schoenberg's two chamber symphonies, firmly across the 12-tone rubicon and full of the squawking effects that characterise the second Viennese school but not totally uncompromising like Schoenberg's concertos. In my diet I couldn't live indefinitely on 'nice' flavours, and in my musical diet, while I always tend to be a bit suspicious of fashionable cacophony, I couldn't take myself seriously as even an amateur musician if I were totally deaf to Berg and Schoenberg. If you like Stravinsky and buy this record you will not have wasted your money. If the Berg chamber concerto succeeds in interesting you in the second Viennese school, a good next step into that territory would be either his violin concerto (I recommend Perlman) or Schoenberg's chamber symphonies in the Holliger recording.
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Berg: Chamber Concerto - Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto, Dumbarton Oaks, 8 Miniatures
Berg: Chamber Concerto - Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto, Dumbarton Oaks, 8 Miniatures by Ensemble Intercontemporain^Pierre Boulez (Audio CD - 2011)
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