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Simon Rattle Edition - Second Viennese School


Release Date: 10/12/2010 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 57562   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsArnold SchoenbergAlban BergAnton Webern
Performer:  Franz MazuraGidon KremerAnne Sofie von OtterThomas Moser,   ... 
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic OrchestraErnst Senff Choir,   ... 
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

For those that find the music of the ‘Second Viennese School’ a listening challenge there is nothing here that cannot be enjoyed with a combination of an open mind and a reasonable degree of concentration.

"To mark the thirtieth anniversary in 2010 of Sir Simon Rattle's exclusive recording contract with EMI Classics the label has issued twelve box sets comprising the ‘Simon Rattle Edition’. This volume is a five disc set of music from composers of the Second Viennese School. The recordings are predominantly from Rattle’s days with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Schoenberg’s massive late-romantic Gurrelieder was however recorded with his Berlin Philharmonic in 2001. To
Read more my knowledge Sir Simon hasn’t released any more works since by composers from the ‘Second Viennese School’.

This is a Rattle showcase; it is not a comprehensive collection of orchestral music of the avant-garde second Viennese school; music characterised by atonalism and Schoenberg’s twelve tone technique. There are several important works fitting that criterion that are not included on the set such as: Webern’s Passacaglia for orchestra, Op. 1, Symphony, Op. 21 and the Variations for orchestra, Op. 30, Berg’s Three Orchestral Pieces, Op. 6 and Three Pieces from the Lyric Suite. Notable late-romantic works that are not included are Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4, the tone poem Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 and Webern’s Im Sommerwind for large orchestra.

There are two disappointing aspects to this set that left me scratching my head in bewilderment. In Webern’s Five Orchestral Pieces, Op. 10 only the final three pieces are presented. Inexplicably Berg’s two movement Violin Concerto (To the Memory of an Angel) is represented only by the concluding movement. These performances seem to have been taken from the disc which is the second and final volume of Rattle’s soundtrack for the Channel 4 TV series ‘Leaving Home: An introduction of 20th century music. - Tonality, Colour, The American Way and Music Now’. It would seem that Rattle hasn’t recorded the two works in their entirety otherwise they would surely have been here. I cannot think why anyone would think it satisfactory to include two incomplete works in a set such as this.

Throughout this collection Rattle demonstrates real commitment coupled with playing that is vigorously alive and evinces a remarkable blend of expression and precision.

I have had this superb account of Gurrelieder in my collection since its release in 2002. Rattle elicits some glorious playing, often rich and sumptuous. I was mightily impressed with the levels of energy and drama in this compelling and deeply insightful reading. It would be hard to imagine the Gurrelieder having a finer cast than Karita Mattila (soprano), Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo), Thomas Moser (tenor), Philip Langridge (tenor) and Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone).

Schoenberg’s Erwartung, a monodrama for soprano and orchestra, contains much turbulent music. Clear-toned, agile and expressive Phyllis Bryn-Julson is a first-rate choice as soprano soloist to guide the listener through the score’s atonal complexities. Berg prepared the impressive Lulu Suite for soprano and orchestra from his unfinished and controversial opera. The orchestral suite contains much sumptuous and seductive music and Arleen Auger’s performance radiates intensity. Hang onto your hats for the earth-shattering orchestral climax at 6:10 (track 19).

In the cantata A Survivor from Warsaw scored for narrator, men’s chorus and orchestra Schoenberg pays homage to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Speaker Frank Mazura with impressively clear diction delivers a dramatic performance. Incidentally the liner-notes give the composition date as 1909, not 1947. Gidon Kremer’s playing in the concluding movement of Berg’s Violin Concerto demonstrates what a sensitive interpreter he is, bringing out the melancholy and introspection of the work.

For those that find the music of the ‘Second Viennese School’ a listening challenge there is nothing here that cannot be enjoyed with a combination of an open mind and a reasonable degree of concentration... the music is extremely well performed and the fine sound quality is as good as we have come to expect from EMI Classics."

-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Piano and Strings no 1 in G minor, Op. 25 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1861; Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Arnold Schoenberg. 
2. A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. 46 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Franz Mazura (Baritone)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 
3. Concerto for Violin: Conclusion by Alban Berg
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
4. Gurrelieder by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Thomas Moser (Tenor), Philip Langridge (Tenor),
Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone), Karita Mattila (Soprano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir,  Berlin Radio Chorus  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900-1911; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 9/2001 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 110 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: German 
5. Chamber Symphony no 1 in E major, Op. 9 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 26 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6. Erwartung, Op. 17 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Phyllis Bryn-Julson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 29 Minutes 52 Secs. 
7. Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1928; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1993 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England 
Length: 21 Minutes 20 Secs. 
8. Pieces (5) for Orchestra, Op. 16 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1987 
Venue:  Warwick Arts Centre, England 
Length: 18 Minutes 37 Secs. 
9. Pieces (6) for orchestra, Op. 6 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1909; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1987 
Venue:  Warwick Arts Centre, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 55 Secs. 
10. Lulu-Suite by Alban Berg
Performer:  Arleen Augér (Soprano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1988 
Venue:  Warwick Arts Centre, England 
Length: 34 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: German 

Sound Samples

Gurrelieder, Part One: Orchestral Prelude
Gurrelieder, Part One: Nun dämfpt die Dämm'rung (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part One: O, wenn des Mondes Strahlen (Tove)
Gurrelieder, Part One: Ross! Mein Ross! (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part One: Sterne jubeln (Tove)
Gurrelieder, Part One: So tanzen die Engel vor Gottes Thron nicht (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part One: Nun sag ich dir zum ersten mal (Tove)
Gurrelieder, Part One: Es ist Mitternachtszeit (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part One: Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick (Tove)
Gurrelieder, Part One: Du wunderliche Tove! (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part One: Orchestral interlude
Gurrelieder, Part One: Tauben von Gurre (Waldtaube)
Gurrelieder, Part Two: Herrgott, weisst du, was du tatest
Gurrelieder, Part Three: Erwacht, König Waldemars Mannen wert! (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part Three: Deckel des Sarges klappert (Bauer & Chor)
Gurrelieder, Part Three: Gegrüsst, o König (Waldermars Männen)
Gurrelieder, Part Three: Mit Toves stimme flüstert der Wald (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part Three: 'Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so'n Aal' (Klaus-Narr)
Gurrelieder, Part Three: Du strenger Richter droben (Waldemar)
Gurrelieder, Part Three: Der Hahn erhebt den Kopf zur Kraht
Gurrelieder, Des Simmerwindes wilde Jagd: Orchestral Prelude
Gurrelieder, Des Simmerwindes wilde Jagd: Herr Gänsefuss, Frau Gänsekraut (Sprecher)
Gurrelieder, Des Simmerwindes wilde Jagd: Seht die Sonne (Chor)

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