Rooster_Ties

Arnold Schoenberg discussion, favorite works, recordings, etc...

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I'm really surprised we've never had a thread dedicated to Arnold Schoenberg. I've really grown to deeply love a few of his works -- oddly enough, mostly all chamber works with at least some winds. But, I certainly do NOT love everything by Arnold (not by a long shot) -- for instance, I've never gotten my ears around the string quartets (though I've tried quite a number of times).

My four favorites, all of which developed over many years time (none of them instantly) are...

  • Serenade, Op. 24 - for clarinet, bass clarinet, mandolin(!), guitar, violin, viola, and cello - plus a bass vocalist (on one movement only)
  • Wind Quintet, Op. 26 - for standard wind-quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon
  • Suite, Op. 29 - for sopranino clarinet in Eb, standard Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, vioin, viola, cello, and piano
  • ...plus Webern's chamber arrangement of Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony #1, Op. 9 - for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano

Webern's chamber arrangement of the first Chamber Symphony has really helped me get into the original (over time) -- and next month I'll be fortunate to get to hear a rare live performance of Schoenberg's own 1935 arrangement for large orchestra (known as "Op. 9b") -- up at the University of Maryland (it's the last weekend in June).

Then, of course, there's "Pierrot Lunaire", which was my very first exposure to Schoenberg -- as listening-quiz material on the syllabus of a Western Music 101 class back in college (for me, circa 1990). Seemed like the craziest thing I'd ever heard (at the time), but over the years - and with repeated spins - it just came to be a lot more familiar to me. BTW, has anybody ever done (more specifically, recorded) this with a MALE vocalist? Seems like in all the years this has existed (over 100 years as of last year), that at least somebody would have given it a go with a baritone (my preference), or perhaps tenor.

I have quite a wide smattering of recordings (a bit more than a dozen Schoenberg discs), but my desert island Schoenberg is all listed above.

What are you favorites? Particular recordings you like? General discussion, anything goes in this thread, have at it...

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Well, as I said in another thread, I am interested in the string quartets though I am looking for a warmer recording than the Ardittis.

I heard Barenboim give an impressive, Brahmsian performance of the Piano Concerto with Boulez conducting. Unforgettable and such a large orchestra! Recordings of that I know are Brendel, Uchida, Ax.

I have only ever heard Hahn perform the Violin Concerto, and her recording is amazing. I guess i also heard whoever recorded it for DG way back when.

Erwartung I saw in the LePage production.

I've heard Aimard perform many of the piano pieces but I don't think he has recorded them - several records of those: Uchida, Hill, Helffer, etc.

I've heard Pelleas und Melisande conducted by Boulez - lots of respect for this score though like so much Schoenberg I find it too deliberate.

I've heard Boulez and others conduct a number of pieces, and I do have most of his compositions on CD and could go on... but your question is a great one which I had been thinking of asking here myself - how much of it can you take to heart as a listener? I am quite familiar with several pieces, but while i follow them well enough I am not sure how much I love them. Barenboim, Hahn, though, just as sheer human spectacle...

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Pierrot Lunaire-- Robert Craft/Bethany Beardslee (Columbia); Pierre Boulez/Helga Pilarczyk (Ades)

Book of the Hanging Gardens -- Beardslee/Robert Helps (Son Nova)
Suite Op. 29 -- Craft (Columbia) ...Dig Pearl Kaufmann on piano; among other things, she did the piano playing for Jack Nicholson's character in "Five Easy Pieces" and improvised a chunk of the piano part on Stravinsky's recording of "The Flood" at IS's urgent request when it was discovered at the recording session that he'd left some of the part blank.
Piano music -- Edward Steuermann (Columbia); Claude Helffer (Harmonia Mundi); Pi-Hsien Chen (Hat Art)
Violin Concerto -- Hillary Hahn/Salonen (DGG)
String Quartets -- Kolisch Quartet (Music & Arts)
Chamber Concerto No. 1 -- Holliger (Teldec); Orpheus Chamber Ensemble (DGG)
Moses und Aaron -- Kegel (Berlin Classics)

Ewartung -- Craft/Pilarczyk (Columbia)

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Five Pieces for Orchestra -- Craft (Naxos)

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There's a wild story about Serenade (Op.24); the conductor of the original recording, DM, fired the classical guitarist, because he didn't know how to follow a conductor, so they hired the studio/jazz guitarist, Johnny Smith.

Smith claims he came in and sight read it, and he plays on the original recording, which I managed to find on Everest.

I'm not a fan of the twelve-tone stuff, but I liked his early shit, Verklave Nacht, etc...

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There's a wild story about Serenade (Op.24); the conductor of the original recording, DM, fired the classical guitarist, because he didn't know how to follow a conductor, so they hired the studio/jazz guitarist, Johnny Smith.

Smith claims he came in and sight read it, and he plays on the original recording, which I managed to find on Everest.

I'm not a fan of the twelve-tone stuff, but I liked his early shit, Verklave Nacht, etc...

That would be "Verklärte Nacht". I have three different recordings, one by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on DG and two chamber versions which I like better, one by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on DG and the other by the Hollywood String Quartet with Alvin Dinkin and Kurt Reher on Testament.

I'm not into Schoenberg's vocal works and I don't have much of his other work, just Rafael Kubelik with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the 5 Pieces for Orchestra, Op.16 on Mercury and the solo piano recordings by Maurizio Pollini in his earlier years on DG. Maybe I should try the string quartets (Leipzig Quartett?) and violin concerto (Hahn?) again.

Edited by J.A.W.

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Five pieces For Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle on an EMI 2 CD set which has a bunch of other good stuff too. Chamber Symphonies; Verklarte Nacht for string sextet; Variations For Orchestra.

I can't get into Von Karajan's orchestral recording of Verklarte Nacht. Too schmaltzy.

Piano Concerto on DG w/ Boulez and Uchida.

I enjoy the vocal works, and I have the Sony 6 CD set conducted by Boulez.

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I really enjoy the Gurrelieder. I have to admit that I haven't really listened to other Schoenberg in years. I had a lot of trouble warming to the 12-tone works.

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Piano Concerto -- Steuermann/Hermann Scherchen (Arkadia)



I heard that story about the recording of the Serenade, but in my version the original guitarist was replaced by Chet Atkins.

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Five Pieces for Orchestra -- Craft (Naxos)

I arranged the second piece, Vergangenes for my quartet. The opening nine bars is soulful like a MF.

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My four favorites, all of which developed over many years time (none of them instantly) are...

  • Serenade, Op. 24 - for clarinet, bass clarinet, mandolin(!), guitar, violin, viola, and cello - plus a bass vocalist (on one movement only)
  • Wind Quintet, Op. 26 - for standard wind-quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon
  • Suite, Op. 29 - for sopranino clarinet in Eb, standard Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, vioin, viola, cello, and piano
  • ...plus Webern's chamber arrangement of Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony #1, Op. 9 - for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano

The really funny thing is that I'm NOT otherwise much of a fan of many other wind quintets (in general), nor much other similar wind-heavy chamber music. But for some bizarre reason, I absolutely frickin' LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, these four particular pieces.

And when I say LOVE -- I mean like a couple years back when I was packing to move to Washington DC (and also repainting the entire interior of our house), there were ENTIRE DAYS where I'd listen to all four of these, sometimes as much as 4 hours or more in a given day. Even now, when I'm in "get shit done!"-mode around the house (or even at work), these are among my main go-to discs for background music. They ALWAYS put me in a good mood, and I often feel like dancing around the room - they give me so much energy (really!).

When I encounter people who like "some" modern music (but not necessarily everything, and not Schoenberg) -- when I mention this, they usually look at me like i have three heads! :crazy:

Any other love for these particular wind-heavy chamber pieces?

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Love Verklarte and Pelleas (I'm sure I was a suicidal Viennese painter in another life). Very drawn to the two Chamber symphonies and the 2nd SQ. Pierrot Lunaire too.

Most Schoenberg I have yet to engage with (though I've 'heard' quite a lot) - but I like the sound worlds.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Piano Concerto -- Steuermann/Hermann Scherchen (Arkadia)

I heard that story about the recording of the Serenade, but in my version the original guitarist was replaced by Chet Atkins.

Chet Atkins? Not in a million years. I don't think he could read music on that level.

Schoenberg's 12-tone system was the model for Adrien Leverkuhn's "demonic creativity" given to him by the devil in Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus".

I read the novel when I was studying composition in college, and was all excited to hear this new way of composing music.

Then I listened to some 12-tone pieces, and that ended the fascination right there.

AS was a great composer, but his 12-tone system leaves me completely cold. :tdown

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Piano Concerto -- Steuermann/Hermann Scherchen (Arkadia)

I heard that story about the recording of the Serenade, but in my version the original guitarist was replaced by Chet Atkins.

Chet Atkins? Not in a million years. I don't think he could read music on that level.

Schoenberg's 12-tone system was the model for Adrien Leverkuhn's "demonic creativity" given to him by the devil in Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus".

I read the novel when I was studying composition in college, and was all excited to hear this new way of composing music.

Then I listened to some 12-tone pieces, and that ended the fascination right there.

AS was a great composer, but his 12-tone system leaves me completely cold. :tdown

I was kidding.

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Piano Concerto -- Steuermann/Hermann Scherchen (Arkadia)

I heard that story about the recording of the Serenade, but in my version the original guitarist was replaced by Chet Atkins.

Chet Atkins? Not in a million years. I don't think he could read music on that level.

Schoenberg's 12-tone system was the model for Adrien Leverkuhn's "demonic creativity" given to him by the devil in Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus".

I read the novel when I was studying composition in college, and was all excited to hear this new way of composing music.

Then I listened to some 12-tone pieces, and that ended the fascination right there.

AS was a great composer, but his 12-tone system leaves me completely cold. :tdown

I was kidding.

Well, I should hope so. Now, Johnny Cash, there was a real Schoenberg man!

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Well, I should hope so. Now, Johnny Cash, there was a real Schoenberg man!

Sun Records would only give Johnny 3 minutes, so he had to cut "I Walk The Line." You shoulda heard the modulations he had to leave out.

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Berg's piano four-hand arrangement of the Op. 9 Chamber Symphony...

PART 1:

PART 2:

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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...

Piano music -- Edward Steuermann (Columbia); Claude Helffer (Harmonia Mundi); Pi-Hsien Chen (Hat Art)
...

I respect AS's music more than I dig it, and don't listen that often or have multiple recordings of works, but find P-H Chen's recording of the piano music extremely good. That's the CD I most frequently (by far) take off the shelf.

Edited by T.D.

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verklarte nacht has been one of my benchmarks and guide markers since my early 20s. a copy is always with me.

"I can't get into Von Karajan's orchestral recording of Verklarte Nacht. Too schmaltzy."

this party adores decadent schmaltz.

Edited by alocispepraluger102

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The violin concerto performed by Hilary Hahn is a fantastic recording!

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Well, I should hope so. Now, Johnny Cash, there was a real Schoenberg man!

 

 

 

Sun Records would only give Johnny 3 minutes, so he had to cut "I Walk The Line." You shoulda heard the modulations he had to leave out.

:lol:

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R-4194574-1358685855-2645.jpeg.jpg

Listening to the Schoenberg quartets right now. I think these are the first commercial recordings of Schoenberg's string quartets. So full of life. Not in the least academic or esoteric. I highly recommend this box set. Sound is "historical," so you have to deal with that, but as the set goes along, the sound gets better and better.

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On ‎4‎/‎2‎/‎2020 at 9:37 PM, Late said:

R-4194574-1358685855-2645.jpeg.jpg

Listening to the Schoenberg quartets right now. I think these are the first commercial recordings of Schoenberg's string quartets. So full of life. Not in the least academic or esoteric. I highly recommend this box set. Sound is "historical," so you have to deal with that, but as the set goes along, the sound gets better and better.

Chuck's recommended that set in the past. I took his recommendation and totally concur that it's damn near "essential listening" for this type of music.

Also not that a fair amount of the material here was recorded for and released by Ross Russell & Dial Records.

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