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Boulez Conducts Webern, Vol. 3: Symphony, op. 21 / Berlin Philharmonic; Boulez

Album Summary

>Webern, Anton : Pieces (5) for orchestra, Op. posth.
>Webern, Anton : Songs (3) for soprano & orchestra
>Webern, Anton : Symphony, Op. 21
>Webern, Anton : Das Augenlicht, for chorus & orchestra, Op. 26
>Webern, Anton : Cantata no 1 for soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 29
>Webern, Anton : Variations for orchestra, Op. 30
>Webern, Anton : Cantata no 2 for soprano, bass, chorus & orchestra, Op. 31
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Designed to serve as the perfect introduction to the music of a turbulent century, DG/Decca's '20C' series covers a wide range of key works by the century's era-defining composers. Every set of 10 features ONE albums from EACH decade.

Gramophone
There are moments of high drama - the sudden outburst from the solo horn in the second movement of Op. 21 (Variation 2), the representations of thunder and lightning in the first movement of Op. 29 - but these are balanced by an eloquent spaciousness and refinement, as with the glowing canonic lines in the first movement of Op. 21. Only in Boulez's account of the Variations, Op. 30 did I feel that the emphasis on lyric inwardness risked an excess of decorum, the raw contrasts of texture and mood so strong in the CBS version sacrificed to an overall blend that deprives Webern of some of his power to shock. That power is explosively present in the Five Pieces from 1913, especially in the astonishing No. 3, and also, less aggressively, in the whispered Sprechgesang of the Drei Lieder. But the other side of Webern, the sheer tenderness of his lyrical imagination, is conveyed here with particular distinction by the solo singing of Christiane Oelze and Gerald Finley, and the beautifully integrated choral sound of the BBC Singers, superbly accurate in the two cantatas and Das Augenlicht. Not even the excellent Finley can manage all the dynamic refinements called for in the score of Op. 31 but, with Boulez and the Berlin players at their most persuasive, the Cantata No. 2 forms a fitting climax to a distinguished disc.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Philharmonie, Groáer Saal, Berlin.



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Works Details

>Webern, Anton : Pieces (5) for orchestra, Op. posth.
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1913

>Webern, Anton : Songs (3) for soprano & orchestra
  • Performers: Gerald Finley; Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Running Time: 4 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1913-1914

>Webern, Anton : Symphony, Op. 21
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Running Time: 9 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1927-1928

>Webern, Anton : Das Augenlicht, for chorus & orchestra, Op. 26
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Running Time: 5 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1935

>Webern, Anton : Cantata no 1 for soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 29
  • Performer: Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Running Time: 8 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1938-1939

>Webern, Anton : Variations for orchestra, Op. 30
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Running Time: 7 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1940-1941

>Webern, Anton : Cantata no 2 for soprano, bass, chorus & orchestra, Op. 31
  • Performers: Gerald Finley; Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Running Time: 14 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1941-1943