Schoenberg & Webern

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COMPOSERS: Schoenberg & Webern
ALBUM TITLE: Schoenberg & Webern
WORKS: Verklärte Nacht (arr. Steuermann); Petrarch Sonnet (arr. Greissle)
PERFORMER: Ulf Wallin (violin), Torleif Thedéen (cello), Roland Pöntinen (piano)
Perhaps the most curious item in this enterprising programme is a piano trio transcription, by Schoenberg’s son-in-law Felix Greissle, of the Petrarch Sonnet from the former’s Serenade, Op. 24. The original ensemble, with its inclusion of mandolin and guitar, pays homage to the second of the ‘Nachtmusik’ movements from Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, though the Serenade itself was Schoenberg’s first essay in 12-note music. Greissle’s arrangement, which absorbs the vocal line into the fabric of the piano trio, actually works better than does the similarly-scored arrangement of Verklärte Nacht. This was made by pianist Eduard Steuermann, an intimate member of the Schoenberg circle (it was to him that Webern dedicated his Op. 27 Variations); but his transcription of Schoenberg’s famous tone-poem can’t hope to capture all the Romantic ardour and passion of the string sextet original.


For the rest, Webern’s complete music for solo piano is very well played by Roland Pöntinen, and in patently superior sound to that given to Krystian Zimerman in DG’s complete Webern album. Also included are the composer’s complete pieces for cello and piano, plus the Four Pieces for violin and piano Op. 7. A fascinating and rewarding disc. Misha Donat