Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht; Pelleas und Melisande

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COMPOSERS: Schoenberg
LABELS: DG Originals
WORKS: Verklärte Nacht; Pelleas und Melisande
PERFORMER: Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan
CATALOGUE NO: 457 721-2 ADD 1974
Two completely approachable early pieces by music’s bogeyman. Verklärte Nacht is certainly gorgeous in Karajan’s hands, with the Berlin strings unanimously piling layer upon layer of velvet sound. The resonant recording makes it sound as if the Philharmonie were crammed to bursting point with players, but, if you prefer the string orchestra version to the original sextet, why not go the whole hog? The sound is also rich in Pelleas and Melisande, though the performance itself is slightly cautious: at mid-price, Barbirolli on EMI is more involving. Martin Cotton