When Zemlinsky died in 1942, there was no telling if or when posthumous recognition of his work would take place. Typical though his reception was for the 20th century pockmarked by two world wars and Nazi rule, it remains remarkable just how differently Zemlinsky, born on October 14th, 1871, has been judged throughout the last 150 years. He had his works premiered at the Vienna Court Opera by Mahler. He commanded the utmost respect of his pupil and brother-in-law Arnold Schoenberg. He was celebrated as the director of Pragues New German Theatre. And yet, still in his lifetime, his work succumbed to political and stylistic changes; he had been persecuted and was forgotten. Weve sort of come full circle: Zemlinsky is once again considered a great composer whose works dont have to shy away from comparison with those of his famous contemporaries and whose music gets performed at least occasionally. With this special Anniversary Edition Capriccio revere the huge spectrum of his outstanding musically compositions.
This six-disc set of Zemlinsky recordings on Capriccio contains a nicely representative selection of vocal, orchestral and chamber works, from the Brahmsian D-minor Symphony (sound clip) to what are arguably Zemlinsky’s two greatest (non-operatic) pieces: the Lyric Symphony, and the Second String Quartet. Fine sonics and first-rate performances make this an excellent introduction to a masterful composer.
– ClassicsToday.com (David Hurwitz)
Bertrand de Billy directs this performance of A Florentine Tragedy with a grand sweep. The vibrant, close sound provides great detail and gives the climactic moments considerable impact. The recording proves amazingly successful in keeping the singers audible through some mighty orchestral outbursts; of course that’s to Zemlinsky’s credit as well.
– MusicWeb International
Zemlinsky's powerful Piano Trio that should have a larger niche in this repertoire. The Pacific Trio's performance is elegant and devoid of histrionics.