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Webern: Complete Works Op 1-31 / Pierre Boulez


Release Date: 02/08/1991 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 45845   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Anton WebernJohann Sebastian BachFranz Schubert
Performer:  Heather HarperCharles RosenIsaac SternGregor Piatigorsky,   ... 
Conductor:  Pierre BoulezAnton Webern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraJohn Alldis ChoirJuilliard String Quartet,   ... 
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 46 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If record companies act on the principle that new versions of Webern's 'complete' works should be issued every 19 years, we still have six years to go before we can expect a replacement for this Sony Classical (originally CBS) set. Its only predecessor was the 1959 Philips album, directed by Robert Craft, and hopes that the 1980s (Webern's centenary fell in 1983) would include more in the way of alternatives to Boulez's performances than the 1960s and 1970s did to Craft's proved vain.

Webern may have been a less important influence on the course of twentieth-century music than used to be claimed. But it still does not follow that full justice was done to him by CBS in 1978. These recordings were actually made between 1967 and
Read more 1972, in many different places (including what the booklet consistently describes as "Banking Town Hall"), but with a generally dry acoustic and flat aural perspective that remain liabilities even though the better performances rise above them.

The Juilliard Quartet are particularly persuasive, not least in the abrasive String Trio, as avant garde today as it was in 1927. Barry McDaniel and Heather Harper both demonstrate that Webern's wide-intervalled vocal lines can be sung smoothly and with feeling. Harper is a great asset to the set, with her beautifully phrased account of Op. 12 a highlight. By comparison Halina Lukomska is wooden, even when accurate. It's not just the fearsome angularities of Opp. 15-18 which freeze most of the expression and dynamic variation out of her voice, but the less fractured lines of the later works too: Op. 23 is a special disappointment, and the more recent versions of these songs by Dorothy Dorow for Etcetera / Harmonia Mundi (12/88) and Schwann Musica Mundi / Koch International (5/90), though far from ideal, are nevertheless preferable. As for Boulez: even though the LSO was not his regular British orchestra, his best performances (Opp. 1 and 30) achieve impressive intensity without imposing too rigid a rhythmic frame. And he includes the rarely-heard original version of Op. 6.

The makeweights on the third CD—the orchestral arrangement of Op. 5 and Webern's own recording of his Schubert orchestrations—are not without interest, although some of his many posthumously-published pieces, few of which are available on disc, would have been preferable. It's sad that the London Sinfonietta's performances were not recorded after their 1978 WebernSchubert Festival, not least for the marvellous singing of Phyllis Bryn-Julson. These artists might still be the best bet for the next complete Webern—in 1997? Meanwhile, these three well-filled medium-price CDs, variable though the performances are, will remain of great value.

-- Gramophone [6/1991]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Passacaglia for orchestra, Op. 1 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1908; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 10 Minutes 5 Secs. 
2.
Entflieht auf leichten Kähnen, Op. 2 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908/1914; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/06/1969 
Venue:  Olumpic Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Version: 1908 
3.
Lieder (5), Op. 3 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano), Charles Rosen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908-1909; Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/20/1970 
Venue:  EMI Studios, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: German 
4.
George Lieder (5), Op. 4 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Charles Rosen (Piano), Heather Harper (Soprano)
Date of Recording: 04/21/1970 
Venue:  EMI Studios, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Language: German 
5.
Sätze (5) for String Quartet, Op. 5 by Anton Webern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Preglhof 
Date of Recording: 2/27/1970 
Venue:  New York City 
Length: 20 Minutes 10 Secs. 
6.
Pieces (6) for orchestra, Op. 6 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1909; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 11 Minutes 53 Secs. 
7.
Pieces (4) for Violin and Piano, Op. 7 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Charles Rosen (Piano), Isaac Stern (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910/1914; Preglhof 
Date of Recording: 05/07/1971 
Venue:  New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
8.
Rilke Lieder (2), Op. 8 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/03/1967 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: German 
9.
Bagatelles (6) for string quartet, Op. 9 by Anton Webern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Period: Modern 
Written: 1913; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/27/1970 
Venue:  New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
10.
Pieces (5) for orchestra, Op. 10 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1911-1913; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 58 Secs. 
11.
Little Pieces (3) for Cello and Piano, Op. 11 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Charles Rosen (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/29/1972 
Venue:  Hollywood, California 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
12.
Lieder (4), Op. 12 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Charles Rosen (Piano), Heather Harper (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1917; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/20/1970 
Venue:  EMI Studios, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: German 
13.
Lieder (4), Op. 13 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1918; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/03/1967 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: German 
14.
Trakl Lieder (6), Op. 14 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1921; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/03/1967 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: German 
15.
Sacred Songs (5), Op. 15 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Halina Lukomska (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921-1922; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/17/1969 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: German 
16.
Canons (5) on Latin Texts, Op. 16 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1924; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/07/1969 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
17.
Traditional Rhymes (3), Op. 17 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Halina Lukomska (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/07/1969 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: German 
18.
Lieder (3), Op. 18 by Anton Webern
Performer:  John Williams (Guitar), Halina Lukomska (Soprano), Colin Bradley (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/07/1969 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: German 
19.
Lieder (2), Op. 19 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/06/1969 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: German 
20.
Trio for Strings, Op. 20 by Anton Webern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1971 
Venue:  New York City 
Length: 9 Minutes 24 Secs. 
21.
Symphony, Op. 21 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1927-1928; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/02/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 19 Secs. 
22.
Quartet for Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Piano and Violin, Op. 22 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Robert Marcellus (Clarinet), Charles Rosen (Piano), Daniel Majeske (Violin),
Abraham Weinstein (Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928-1930; Mödling, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/04/1970 
Venue:  Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
23.
Lieder (3) from Viae inviae, Op. 23 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Halina Lukomska (Soprano), Charles Rosen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933-1934; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/05/1970 
Venue:  EMI Studios, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: German 
24.
Concerto for 9 instruments, Op. 24 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/07/1969 
Venue:  Olympic Studios, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 31 Secs. 
25.
Jone Lieder (3), Op. 25 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Halina Lukomska (Soprano), Charles Rosen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/05/1970 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: German 
26.
Das Augenlicht, Op. 26 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/02/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: German 
27.
Variations for piano, Op. 27 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Charles Rosen (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1935-1936; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/13/1969 
Venue:  EMI Studios, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 52 Secs. 
28.
Quartet for Strings, Op. 28 by Anton Webern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1938; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/27/1970 
Venue:  New York City 
Length: 8 Minutes 35 Secs. 
29.
Cantata no 1, Op. 29 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Halina Lukomska (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1939; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/03/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: German 
30.
Variations for orchestra, Op. 30 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1940-1941; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/04/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 13 Secs. 
31.
Cantata no 2, Op. 31 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941-1943; Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1969 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London 
Length: 13 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: German 
32.
Sätze (5) for String Quartet, Op. 5 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Preglhof 
Date of Recording: 6/2/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 45 Secs. 
33.
Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079: no 5, Ricercar a 6 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/02/1969 
Venue:  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Anton von Webern. 
34.
German Dance(s) by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Anton Webern
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/29/1932 
Venue:  Live  Banking Town Hall, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Anton von Webern.
This selection is a mono recording. 

Sound Samples

Passacaglia for Orchestra, Op. 1
Entflieht auf leichten Kähnen
I. Dies ist ein Lied fur dich allein
II. Im Windesweben
III. An Bachesranft
IV. Im Morgentaun
V. Kahl reckt der Baum
I. Eingang
II. Noch zwingt mich Treue
III. Ja Heil und Dank dir
IV. So ich traurig bin
V. Ihr tratet zu dem Herde
I. Heftig bewegt
II. Sehr langsam
III. Sehr bewegt
IV. Sehr langsam
V. In zarten Bewegung
I. Etwas bewegte Achtel
II. Bewegt
III. Zart bewegt
IV. Langsam
V. Sehr langsam
VI. Zart bewegt
I. Sehr langsam
II. Rasch
III. Sehr langsam
IV. Bewegt
I. Du, der ichs nicht sage
II. Du machst mich allein
I. Mäßige
II. Leicht bewegt
III. Ziemlich fließend
IV. Sehr langsam
V. Äußerst langsam
VI. Fließend
I. Sehr ruhig und zart
II. Lebhaft und zart bewegt
III. Sehr langsam und äußerst zart
IV. Fließend, äußerst zart
V. Sehr fließend
I. Mäßige Achtel
II. Sehr bewegt
III. Äußerst ruhig
I. Der Tag ist vergangen (P. Rosegger)
II. Die geheimnisvolle Flöte (Li Tai Po, trans. H. Bethge)
III. Schien mir's, als ich sah die Sonne (A. Strindberg)
IV. Gleich und Gleich (Goethe)
I. Wiese im Park (Karl Kraus)
II. Die Einsame (Wang Seng Yu, trans. Bethge)
III. In der Fremde (Li Tai Po, trans. Bethge)
IV. Ein Winterabend (G. Trakl)
I. Die Sonne
II. Abendland I
III. Abendland II
IV. Abendland III
V. Nachs
IV. Gesang einer gefangenen Amsel
I. Das Kreuz, das musst' er tragen (Rosegger
II. Morgenlied (Des Knaben Wunderhorn),
III. In Gottes Namen aufstehn (Rossegger)
IV. Mein Weg geht jetzt vorüber (anon. chorale)
V. Fahr hin, o Seel, zu deinem Gott (Rosegger)
I. Christus factus est (Maundy Thursday gradual)
II. Dormi Jesu (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
III. Crux fidelis (Good Friday hymn)
IV. Asperges me (Ordinary antiphon)
V. Crucem tuam adoramus (Good Friday antiphon)
I. Armer Sünder, du (Rosegger)
II. Liebste Jungfrau, wir sind dein (Rosegger)
III. Heiland, unsre Missetaten (anon.)
I. Schatzerl klein (Rosegger)
II. Erlösung (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
III. Ave regina coelorum (Marian antiphon)
I. Weiß wie Lilien
II. Ziehn die Schafe
I. Sehr langsam
II. Sehr getragen und ausdrucksvoll
I. Ruhig Schreitend
II. Variationen
I. Sehr mäßig
II. Sehr schwungvoll
I. Das dunkle Herz
II. Es Stürzt aus Höhen Frische
III. Herr Jesus mein
I. Etwas lebhaft
II. Sehr langsam
III. Sehr rasch
I. Wie bin ich froh!
II. Des Herzens Purpurvoge
III. Sterne, ihr silbernen Bienen

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