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Webern: Orchestral Works / Dohnanyi, Cleveland Orchestra


Release Date: 01/13/1998 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 444593   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anton WebernJohann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These superb recordings of Anton Webern's orchestral works got somewhat short shrift at their original appearance five years ago, the five principal works of the composer's maturity clumsily coupled with a three disc-set of lumbering Mozart symphony performances.

Presented in a more sensible, user-friendly format, this CD allows more ready appreciation of Dohnányi's warmly expressive approach to Webern's works, music which, at this late date, many still believe to be gnarly and forbidding territory. I've often found Dohnányi a cold and technocratic musician in traditional repertoire, but, ironically, in Webern's 12-tone works, the German conductor scores by bringing out the inherent warmth and subtle lyricism of
Read more the music. In the Langsam movement of the 6 Pieces, Dohnányi underlines the Mahlerian elements nicely, producing an overwhelmingly cataclysmic climax. The playing of the Cleveland Orchestra is stellar, linear, and incisive, yet superbly refined and warmly expressive

In Webern's brilliant transcription of the Ricercare from Bach's Musical Offering, Dohnányi draws out all of the instrumental lines with great skill, demonstrating the dual traditional and subversive sides of the arrangement. In many ways, Im Sommerwind is the best thing on the disc, a magnificent performance, arguably the finest recording the work has ever had. Like Verklärte Nacht, this early, hyper-Romantic work was inspired by a poem, and written shortly before Webern began his lessons with Schoenberg. Hearing as full-blooded and convincing a performance as this makes one wonder about the road not taken and how Webern's music might have developed if he had not strayed from the more traditional style of this early tone poem.

Dohnányi's performances makes Webern's 12-tone works less coldly forbidding and more accessible than most other recordings I've heard. In fact, these fine readings can stand with the best available, namely Karajan's glossy, romanticized readings (DG) and Boulez's more linear renderings (Sony and DG). The dynamic range is a little exaggerated, with the pizzicato opening presentation of the theme of the Passacaglia barely audible; and with the orchestra in full cry^ textures are not always as clear and distinct as they should be. Nonetheless, Dohnányi's performances are both intelligent and imaginative, and with excellent playing by the Cleveland Orchestra can be safely recommended.

-- Lawrence A. Johnson, FANFARE [5/1998]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Passacaglia for orchestra, Op. 1 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1908; Austria 
2.
Pieces (6) for orchestra, Op. 6 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1909; Austria 
3.
Symphony, Op. 21 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1927-1928; Austria 
4.
Pieces (5) for orchestra, Op. 10 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1911-1913; Austria 
5.
Variations for orchestra, Op. 30 by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Modern 
Written: 1940-1941; Austria 
6.
Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079: no 5, Ricercar a 6 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747; Leipzig, Germany 
Notes: Orchestrated: Anton Webern 
7.
Im Sommerwind by Anton Webern
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; Preglhof 

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