Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Arnold Schoenberg, Takuo Yuasa, Ulster Orchestra|
Arnold Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, Chamber Symphony No. 2, Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical
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A more romantic view of modern masterworks
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 12/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Takuo Yuasa here leads the Ulster Orchestra in performances of Schoenberg's late romantic (pre 12 tone) Chamber Symphony No. 2 and Verklarte Nacht, his lengthy and episodic tone poem. What separates these performances from others in the catalog is the lengthy traversal Yuasa and forces deliver, stretching these works out several minutes longer than the average competing issues.
This not only elongates the works, both of which are more rapidly played on famous CDs by the conductorless Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Heinz Holliger, it creates a more wantonly romantic atmosphere. This issue includes the Schoenberg rarity, Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, Op. 34", another late romantic item that verges on the precipice of the conductor's famous leap into dodecaphonic composition.
I bought this disk because I already own a perfectly acceptable recording of the Chamber Symphony 1 -- by Mehta and L.A. Philharmonic on his now deleted disk with Schmidt's Symphony No. 4 -- and I was looking to expand my holding of the last great Viennese comoposer of the tonal era. While Yuasa and the Ulster band don't quite recreate the great arches of emotion Karajan and others do in the tone poem, their disk sounds better, is equally well-played, costs less and, all in all, it more than holds its own against all competitors.
The playing is razor sharp and the sound of the 2000 Naxos issue is well up to modern DDD standards. If you have the slightest interest in this repertory, I'd say, somewaht ironically, to not let the $4 cost inhibit you from purchasing this issue. The price may be low but the quality standard is high."
Schoenberg the Romantic
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 10/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of Arnold Schoenberg's two Chamber Symphonies, the Second has benefitted less than the first in the number of recordings; the First indeed has made many appearances on disc, going back to an early-1950s monophonic recording on Vox. Recent couplings have appeared, with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on DG, for example, and flanking the Piano Concerto on Phillips. This new budget issue from Naxos gives us the Second Chamber Symphony in company with Verklärte Nacht and the rarely performed and recorded Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, the composer's bid to secure studio-work in Hollywood. The Second Chamber Symphony, begun in 1906 but not completed until thirty years later, differs from the First, perhaps oddly, in being decidedly more romantic in spirit, which is why it makes a sensible disc-mate with Verklärte Nacht. The first of two movements, a brooding Adagio, is close in mood with Korngold in his darker manifestations (as in Die Tote Stadt); the second, longer movement, is a scherzo (con fuoco; lento), where Schoenberg explores fiery humors and a mood of bumptious rusticity with the likes of which he is not usually associated. In the final bars, however, the darkling Adagio returns for the last word. (No angst-ridden fin-de-siecle Viennese would want to gives us too much unadulterated Allegro!) The performance, under Takuo Yuasa leading the Ulster Orchestra, is assured and idomatic. The same can be said for the gorgeous string-polyphony of Verklärte Nacht, brought out here with convincing ripeness. The crucial transition to the final, reconciliatory section, is especially nicely calculated. The Accompaniment shows Schoenberg in a more modernist ("expressionist" is probably the mot juste) guise, but the performance brings out the kinship with the earlier, romantic scores. This disc represents a fine low-priced introduction to Schoenberg, for anyone who has not yet taken that intimidating plunge. (The water is not as cold as you might think.) Schoenbergians will want it for the committed readings, worthy to stand on the shelf alongside classic recorded performances, like those of Horenstein and Scherchen. I prefer Yuasa's warmth to Boulez's frigidity."