Schoenberg: Pelléas und Mélisande; Verklärte Nacht

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COMPOSERS: Schoenberg
LABELS: Sony Essential Classics
WORKS: Pelléas und Mélisande; Verklärte Nacht
PERFORMER: Orchestre de Paris/Daniel Barenboim, New York PO/Pierre Boulez
CATALOGUE NO: SBK 63035 ADD 1973/7
Schoenberg’s heavyweight version of Maeterlinck’s Pelléas is not really the silky-toned Orchestre de Paris’s thing; nor is Barenboim’s grasp of the structure and flow as strong and assured as it might be were he to tackle it today. The typically spotlit Seventies recording tends to highlight the wrong strands in the composer’s multi-layered textures and leave single instruments, such as harp and solo flute, stranded. Boulez’s New York Verklärte Nacht is more expressionist than headily Romantic, but is at least more sympathetically recorded. Matthew Rye