Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht; Chamber Symphony No. 1; Variations for Orchestra; Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16; Six Songs, Op. 8; Erwartung

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Schoenberg
LABELS: Decca Double Decca
WORKS: Verklärte Nacht; Chamber Symphony No. 1; Variations for Orchestra; Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16; Six Songs, Op. 8; Erwartung
PERFORMER: Anja Silja (soprano); Los Angeles PO/Zubin Mehta, Cleveland Orchestra, Vienna PO/Christoph von Dohnányi
CATALOGUE NO: 448 279-2 ADD/DDD (1967-92)
This is a useful compilation of several of Schoenberg’s key works garnered from Decca’s back catalogue. Mehta’s Los Angeles Verklärte Nacht veers a little too close to Hollywood for my taste, with a slightly superficial gloss to the sound, spotlit soloists and expressive indulgence. The Chamber Symphony and the kaleidoscopic orchestral colours of the Variations suit this team much better. The rest is in Dohnányi’s capable hands, including a stunningly vivid Op. 16 from Cleveland. Silja gloriously lets rip in the late-Romantic Op. 8 Songs and is a powerful exponent of the angst and nightmare of Erwartung (though her sometimes wailing tone might not be to everyone’s taste); the Vienna PO here is superb. Matthew Rye

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