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Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht, Pelleas Und Melisande / Karajan

Release Date: 03/17/1998 
Label:  Dg The Originals Catalog #: 457721   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Herbert von Karajan. Remember him? Considering how much he recorded, he gets remarkably little mention nowadays—but at his best, as here, he was amazing. He reportedly paid for these recordings himself because he believed in the importance of preserving the masterworks of the Second Viennese School, and the effort shows. Of course, his approach to string playing was uniquely rich, sensual, and so out of fashion in these days of vibratoless “authenticity”—but Karajan new personally what the truly authentic style in this music should have been, and this is it.

His Verklärte Nacht is almost suffocatingly decadent, and phrased as a single, 30-minute long arch of melody. It’s not for those on a low calorie aural diet, that’s
Read more for sure. The “transfigured” closing pages are especially magical, but that might be said of the whole performance. Similarly, Pelleas is so lovingly phrased, so beautiful and purposeful in its progress, that the music’s intense chromaticism never degenerates into mere timbral sludge (as it so often can). Each episode is fully characterized and richly colored, and you always get the sense that something is “happening,” even if you’re not sure exactly what (then again, the characters in this story are just as clueless as we are).

Does anyone listen to this music frequently? Perhaps not, but when you do, you might as well go for broke, as Karajan does here.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Two completely approachable early pieces by music’s bogeyman. Verklärte Nacht is certainly gorgeous in Karajan’s hands, with the Berlin strings unanimously piling layer upon layer of velvet sound. The resonant recording makes it sound as if the Philharmonie were crammed to bursting point with players, but, if you prefer the string orchestra version to the original sextet, why not go the whole hog? The sound is also rich in Pelleas and Melisande, though the performance itself is slightly cautious. Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- Martin Cotton, BBC Music Magazine

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Works on This Recording

Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1903; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1974 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 29 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Verklärte Nacht for String Orchestra, Op. 4 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899/1943; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1973 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 43 Minutes 31 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Verklärte Nacht for String Orchestra
Pelleas und Melisande

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A great performance January 7, 2013 By Francois Dugas (Laval, QC) See All My Reviews "A version quite in nuances and powerful of these two works preceding dodecaphony. According to me, this Karajan performance achieves sublime. A remarkable intensity!" Report Abuse
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