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Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht / Artemis Quartet

Release Date: 04/04/2006 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 35130   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Arnold SchoenbergAlban BergRichard Strauss
Performer:  Volker JacobsenValentin ErbenThomas KakuskaHeime Müller,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artemis String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Heime Müller?s arrangement of Berg?s Piano Sonata for string sextet is stunning. The work sounds so right for strings that after two or three hearings I could no longer imagine it on the piano. Indeed, when I returned to the keyboard original, I was now disappointed. Alfred Brendel is quoted in the booklet as saying that the sonata is ?a hidden string quartet.? Müller obviously felt that way, and we are in his debt for a new masterpiece. The early Sonata seems to grow in maturity as well in sonority, as the string arrangement has the curious effect of loosening its tonal roots without altering the notes, emphasizing its chromaticism. The two violas and cellos darken and thicken the work appropriately. The performance Read more is as fine as the transcription; the Artemis play with the confidence and radiance we are used to hearing from the Arditi, and the two extras fit in perfectly. One oddity is that these recordings were made by West German Radio (WDR) in Cologne in December 2002, while the arrangement is dated 2003.

Verklärte Nacht is played with the utmost delicacy?and in many passages very rapidly. There are also some powerful moments along the way, yet none sound congested, as this music so often can. It emerges as a winning piece of chamber music rather than a dramatic tale of troubled love on a cold moonlit night. Schoenberg?s early late-Romantic piece can take all sorts of interpretations; its anguished side is in vogue today, so this finely balanced, superbly played reading is a welcome relief. Virgin?s recording is clear, clean, and a bit standoffish, avoiding the claustrophobia often felt in the music.

Strauss?s Introduction to his final opera is in the unusual form of a string sextet. It drifts along lazily, displaying considerable charm but not much substance?the opera in miniature. This performance does the piece honor; the clean, upright playing steers clear of its incipient sentimentality without sacrificing any of its charm.

The Berg arrangement is the highlight of the disc, and the Artemis and friends provide superlative performances of all three works.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

Verklärte Nacht for String Sextet, Op. 4 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Volker Jacobsen (Viola), Valentin Erben (Cello), Thomas Kakuska (Viola),
Heime Müller (Violin), Natalia Prischepenko (Violin), Eckart Runge (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artemis String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Bismarck Hall, WDR, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 28 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano, Op. 1 by Alban Berg
Performer:  Natalia Prischepenko (Violin), Volker Jacobsen (Viola), Heime Müller (Violin),
Thomas Kakuska (Viola), Eckart Runge (Cello), Valentin Erben (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artemis String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1907-08; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Bismarck Hall, WDR, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Heime Müller. 
Capriccio, Op. 85: Prelude by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heime Müller (Violin), Volker Jacobsen (Viola), Natalia Prischepenko (Violin),
Eckart Runge (Cello), Thomas Kakuska (Viola), Valentin Erben (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artemis String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1940-1941; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Bismarck Hall, WDR, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 26 Secs. 

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