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Schoenberg: Pelleas And Melisande, Etc / Boulez, Chicago So

Release Date: 02/09/1993 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 45827   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

After his recent recordings of Debussy and Stravinsky in Cleveland (DG, 8/92), Pierre Boulez has moved on to Chicago for Bartok (DG, 3/93) and Schoenberg. The Erato technicians have kept the orchestra at a distance, and the result is a well-blended, glowing sound tailor-made to Boulez's interpretations of these intricate and often intensely passionate scores.

I described Boulez's earlier BBC SO performance of the Variations (CBS, 1/79—nla) as in his ''most detached, disengaged vein''. He has undoubtedly mellowed since the 1970s, and although this new version is still not notable for self-indulgent expressiveness, the polish and technical refinement of the Chicago players make a strong impression. You get more pointed detail,
Read more at the risk of textural overload, from Michael Gielen and the South-West German Radio SO (Wergo); more intensity, allied to exceptional linear clarity, from the BPO and Karajan (DG). Boulez's view of the work has its own sense of conviction, however: there's nothing perfunctory in this refinement, and a comparable conviction, allied to even greater emotional involvement, radiates from his Pelleas und Melisande.

In this, his first recording of Schoenberg's magnificent early symphonic poem, Boulez is highly successful at shaping the constant flux of its form and moods, doing as much as any conductor could to ensure that the extensive sequential writing avoids banal predictability. The burnished recording sound differs radically from DG's closely-balanced, sharply-delineated textures for Karajan, and there is probably even greater clarity from both Bamert and the SNO (Chandos) and Mehta and the Israel PO (Sony). But Boulez has a finer orchestra than any of his rivals save Karajan. A few passages may be short on mystery or tenderness (for example, the music of grief after Pelleas's death) but this detracts little from a reading of sovereign authority that has power without melodrama, coherence without contrivance. I expect to return to it often.

-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone [4/1993]
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Works on This Recording

Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1903; Vienna, Austria 
Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1928; Berlin, Germany 

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