Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
A bit bare bones, maybe, but stunning music-making
on 25 June 2013
It seems extremely churlish to punish this bargain boxset for cutting back on the niceties of a full-priced release. No, there isn't a booklet, but it's £20 for goodness' sake. You have track listings on the back of every CD, which - if you already know the pieces in the box - should do you just fine.
What you DO get with this box is some of Boulez's finest conducting. Particular highlights are the string orchestra Verklärte Nacht with the New York Philharmonic, rich and sonorous and incredibly vivid - one of the most thrilling bits of music Boulez has committed to disc; a definitive Survivor from Warsaw with a nigh-on-perfect speaker in Günter Reich; very fine recordings of the major dramatic works Erwartung, Moses und Aron (Acts I and II), Die Jakobsleiter and Gurre-Lieder; a luxury recording of Pierrot lunaire with Yvonne Minton, Daniel Barenboim, Michel Debost, Antyhony Pay, Pinchas Zukerman and Lynn Harrell; and a few of my favourite Schoenberg rarities, such as the Suite Op. 29 and Serenade Op. 24, in fine Ensemble Intercontemporain performances.
The only discs I found less-than-compelling were the two choral music discs, which had a couple of highlights (Kol Nidre, the aforementioned Survivor from Warsaw) but which I otherwise found pretty dry. Still, nine superb discs out of 11 makes for a pretty compelling package in my books, and at this price any self-respecting Schoenberg fan should stop reading this review now and direct their cursor to the 'Buy' button at the top of the page.