Berg * Schreker * Webern
Berg: Lyric Suite; Webern: Langsamer Satz; Schreker: Intermezzo for String Orchestra
Auvergne National Orchestra/Roberto Forés Veses
Aparté AP207 52:29 mins
The arrangement of Berg’s Lyric Suite recorded here is credited to the late Dutch composer Theo Verbey, with no mention anywhere of the fact that three of its six movements were meticulously transcribed for string orchestra by Berg himself, and that Verbey’s contribution was therefore confined to the remaining movements. The transcriptions work very well, though inevitably some of the intimacy of the original string quartet version is sacrificed (Webern understandably advised Berg against including the Allegro misterioso third movement, with its urgent whisperings, though he nevertheless went ahead with his arrangement), and Roberto Forés Veses coaxes some admirably precise playing out of the strings of the Orchestre national d’Auvergne.
Webern’s slow movement of 1905, again originally written for string quartet, sounds even more lushly romantic when performed, as here, by a full body of players; Veses does make judicious use of a solo quartet for a few of the more intimate passages towards the end, however. Of greater rarity value are the two pieces by Franz Schreker. The Scherzo, which only came to light again in the 1970s, is obviously influenced by the kind of delicate, fleeting sound that Mendelssohn brought to his pieces of the kind; and although the Intermezzo of 1902 is more romantic in atmosphere, both pieces are worlds removed from the much more intense Expressionist style Schreker was to cultivate in his operas, or in his Chamber Symphony of 1916. Again, these are fine performances, bringing out the full flavour of the music.