Schoenberg: Transcriptions of works by Reger, Johann Strauss, Sioly, Schubert & Denza

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COMPOSERS: Schoenberg
LABELS: Erato
WORKS: Transcriptions of works by Reger, Johann Strauss, Sioly, Schubert & Denza
PERFORMER: Markus Schäfer (tenor) Lyon National Opera Soloists
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-13541-2
I hope that no one will be put off buying this engaging miscellany because it bears the dread name of Schoenberg. His creativity in transcription is the common factor, but the main composer is Max Reger, whose inventive three-movement Romantic Suite, Op. 125, occupies half a shortish disc. Not well acquainted with the orchestral original, I was captivated by its sensitive charms, particularly the delectable scherzo. I even learned to love the sombre wheezing of the harmonium by which, with piano, Schoenberg replaced most of the orchestral wind. Perhaps because of this instrumentation (the keyboards support flute, clarinet and string quartet) the sound is beautifully warm. Reger was much favoured by Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performances, as was Strauss, whose Emperor Waltz is here presented in a version – between café and chamber music – which is easily as enjoyable as the original. Schubert’s serenade ‘Hark, hark! the lark!’ is sung by Markus Schäfer, and the anthology signs off hilariously with ‘Funiculì, funiculà’. Julian Rushton

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