Notes and Editorial Reviews
Matthias Bamert takes a less opulent approach to Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande than those who bathe the score in Straussian luxury. By focusing on the music's harder, glinting colors, Bamert gives it a noticeably more modern sound. The acerbic, sharp-edged sonorities (boldly projected by the brass, yet expertly balanced in the overall ensemble) instantly identify Schoenberg as the composer, which makes it easy to see this work as a precursor to Schoenberg's soon-to-come (and radically different) Five Pieces for Orchestra. But Bamert is no less attuned to the music's tragic narrative as he builds dramatic tension in each of its episodes while maintaining the overall arc of the piece. The Scottish National Orchestra responds with playing
that is both passionate and virtuosic.
A musical chasm separates Schoenberg's severe, neo-classical Piano Concerto from the hyper-romantic world of Pelleas, yet you can still discern stylistic traces of the younger composer in this, one of the more accessible products of his 12-tone period. Pianist Amalie Malling offers an intriguing mixture of Mozartean elegance and Bartókian aggressiveness, while Michael Schonwandt leads the Danish National Symphony with an urgency that holds the ear even through the most abrasive harmonic constructions. This is never going to be anyone's hum-along music, but the performers make an impressive presentation nonetheless. Chandos' typically spacious acoustic gives Pelleas a powerful sonic impact, while the smaller-scaled concerto offers well-judged balance and clarity.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano, Op. 42 by Arnold Schoenberg
Amalie Malling (Piano)
Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1942; USA
Length: 20 Minutes 21 Secs.
Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 by Arnold Schoenberg
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1902-1903; Vienna, Austria
Length: 43 Minutes 20 Secs.
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