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Webern: Symphony, Six Pieces, Etc / Craft, Philharmonia

Release Date: 01/18/2005 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557530   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anton WebernFranz Schubert
Performer:  Jennifer Welch-BabidgeMichael LowensternJesse MillsCharles Neidich,   ... 
Conductor:  Robert Craft
Orchestra/Ensemble:  20th Century Classics EnsemblePhilharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Robert Craft's advocacy on behalf of Anton Webern dates back to his "complete" pioneering 1954 cycle for Columbia Masterworks. Since that time, of course, musicians have absorbed these scores with increasing refinement and accuracy. The same can be said in regard to recording engineers and digital technology. These are all good reasons for Craft to embark on a brand new Webern cycle.

The 11 opus-numbered pieces included in this first volume represent an ideal sampling of chamber, solo, vocal, and orchestral work to attract listeners who want to get to know the composer's concise and extremely concentrated "pocket music" style. Best of all, the performances
Read more are all we could wish for.

Craft elicits impressive clarity and delicacy from the Philharmonia Orchestra in the two-movement Op. 21 Symphony and in the Six Pieces Op. 6 (even the super-soft tam-tam strokes in the latter's fourth piece make themselves felt) while imparting a welcome conversational sensibility to the Concerto for Nine Instruments' mosaic-like scoring. Both violinist Jesse Mills and cellist Fred Sherry prove more eloquent foils to their respective, expressionistically aggressive DG Boulez/Webern edition counterparts in Op. 7 and Op. 11.

Much as I admire DG soprano Christiane Oelze's frightening accuracy and tonal evenness in the Op. 16, 17, and 18 song groups, Jennifer Welch-Babidge manipulates her smaller voice to more playful effect, abetted by her like-minded instrumental collaborators. Christopher Oldfather's limpid, direct account of the Op. 27 Variations merits special mention, even in the face of Piotr Anderszewski's extraordinarily detailed reference version (Virgin Classics). Lastly, Craft's booklet notes match the intelligence and insight of his music making. May subsequent volumes of the Naxos Robert Craft Webern Edition share this one's sonic and interpretive distinctions. [8/31/2005]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony, Op. 21 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Robert Craft
Orchestra/Ensemble:  20th Century Classics Ensemble
Period: Modern 
Written: 1927-1928; Austria 
Traditional Rhymes (3), Op. 17 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Jennifer Welch-Babidge (Soprano), Michael Lowenstern (Bass Clarinet), Jesse Mills (Violin),
Charles Neidich (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; Austria 
Language: German 
Pieces (6) for orchestra, Op. 6 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Robert Craft
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1909; Austria 
Canons (5) on Latin Texts, Op. 16 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Charles Neidich (Clarinet), Michael Lowenstern (Bass Clarinet), Jennifer Welch-Babidge (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1924; Austria 
Language: Latin 
Lieder (3), Op. 18 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Scott Kuney (Guitar), Charles Neidich (Bass Clarinet), Jennifer Welch-Babidge (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
Trio for Strings, Op. 20 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Fred Sherry (Cello), Richard O'Neill (Viola), Ani Kavafian (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Vienna, Austria 
Quartet for Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Piano and Violin, Op. 22 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Michael Lowenstern (Clarinet), Dan Goble (Tenor Saxophone), Jennifer Frautschi (Violin),
Christopher Oldfather (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928-1930; Mödling, Austria 
Variations for piano, Op. 27 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Christopher Oldfather (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1935-1936; Austria 
Pieces (4) for Violin and Piano, Op. 7 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Jesse Mills (Violin), Christopher Oldfather (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910/1914; Preglhof 
Little Pieces (3) for Cello and Piano, Op. 11 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Fred Sherry (Cello), Christopher Oldfather (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Vienna, Austria 
Concerto for 9 instruments, Op. 24 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Stephen Gosling (Piano), Chris Gekker (Trumpet), William Purvis (French Horn),
Charles Neidich (Clarinet), James Pugh (Trombone), Sunghae Anna Lim (Violin),
Richard O'Neill (Viola), David Fedele (Flute), Stephen Taylor (Oboe)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934; Austria 
German Dances (6) for Piano, D 820 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Robert Craft
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: Arranger: Anton von Webern. 

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