Compromised By Poor Sound
Jeffrey Lipscomb | Sacramento, CA United States | 05/28/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am second to no one in my admiration for Hermann Scherchen, particularly his recordings of modern music. So I looked forward eagerly to hearing this CD. What a disappointment! It all sounds a bit under-rehearsed - and the sound is distant and somewhat distorted. As usual with this CD label, there is no libretto and only vestigial notes.Schoenberg's subject is the birth of worship of a single God (monotheism). "Moses und Aron" is a work of awesome beauty and power. The libretto, written by the composer, is a kind of poetry itself - it is a sort of revisionist "Exodus" that shows the divisions (not the alliance) between Moses and his brother Aron. Moses sees the Word in its ideal sense, whereas Aron is earthbound in his realism - which ultimately translates into the golden calf and its degradation of the entire God-idea espoused by Moses. Schoenberg's dramatisation of this contrast is rather unusual - he casts Moses as a speaking part versus the becoming, seductive high tenor of Aron. An enormous orchestra is used, with a generous allocation to percussion. All the music derives from a single twelve-note set. That may sound dry and academic - but the ingenuity with which Schoenberg develops it is astonishing - what an ear for orchestral colors he had!The classic recording - and the very first - was the 1954 live radio broadcast conducted by Hans Rosbaud. It was originally issued on on a 3-LP Columbia set. The Moses of Hans Herbert Fiedler was superb. There were occasional mishaps incident to any live performance - but both the sound and the playing were far superior to what is heard in the Scherchen. Columbia/CBS/Sony - whatever you call yourselves these days - could you PLEASE bring us a good CD transfer of Rosbaud's great recording?"
Jeffry H. Steele | 05/31/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Though I bought this from Amazon 6 years back, it didn't occur to me to submit a review till I just received a promo e-mail based on the purchase. It sounds as though recorded on a compact cassette recorder hidden in someone's overcoat pocket. While the conductor is a historic figure, dating from the origins of the Vienna School, I still would not buy a ticket for a seat inside that particular pocket."