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  Farao Classics -
  S 108 044
  Schoenberg: Transfigured Night, Chamber Symphony No. 1 - Mehta
  Arnold Schoenberg: Transfigured Night Op. 4, Chamber Symphony No. 1 Op. 9

Bavarian State Orchestra
Zubin Mehta (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 4

Reviews: 1

Review by peteyspambucket October 27, 2004 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I believe this is currently the only SACD of these pieces, and it's a joy to have them on this format. Verklaerte Nacht is wonderfully transparent, and very nicely paced. The detail in the orchestration is captured very well. When the first chairs emerge for chamber passages, the sound is truly balanced. Mehta has a tendency to perform this piece on the heavily romantic side, which is a fine way to take this piece. I do however enjoy some of the dissonances that can exist when played with the right degree of transparency. Based on the score, Mehta at times allows voices from the Secondary line to overshadow the voices in the Primary line(s). So what comes out is a bit of interpretive mush in certain places and you can lose the overall arc that Schoenberg was creating.

The performance of the Kammersinfonie is very good, and while it's a bit on the rowdy side it works well. There are parts where the interpretation gets a little unfocused, and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be hearing, even though it's clearly marked in the score. The solo playing is sometimes not milked for its worth, but the best parts tend to be the quieter sections where details, chords, and even overtones can actually be heard. On the good side, the first violins (especially the concertmaster) play like demons here, and it's captured with very nice clarity. The last bars are not as conclusive as they should be, and it sounds like it just ends with a whimper. I've heard it done better "live", but this is the best recording I've heard in a long time.

I took half a star off the Performance rating because of the confusing interpretation of the Kammersinfonie, but if Verklaerte Nacht were the only piece on this SACD, I'd give the performance a 4.

The sound is with a close microphone placement, which I like very much. There is nothing like being able to hear the vibrato of an entire string section the way it's captured here in the Verklaerte Nacht, as opposed to the mushy sound you can hear on a lot of Telarc's strings-only recordings. The bass is very present and adds to create a very warm sound. Overall, the sound is great, except in a few spots where there is some congestion. (Maybe those with better systems than mine will not experience this congestion, and I'd LOVE to know!)

Until SACD versions of these pieces and other Schoenberg pieces from Polygram's archives like Karajan, Levine, Dorati, or La Salle come out, which could be a while, I have no problem recommending this Mehta disc! I hope they don't put out any Schoenberg on SACDs from Abbado, Boulez, Rattle, Thielemann, or Sinopoli. I also love the old VOX version of the Brahms-Schoenberg, and I'd DEFINITELY want to have an SACD of the Chailly GURRELIEDER. :-) HINT HINT!

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Works: 2  

Arnold Schoenberg - Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9
Arnold Schoenberg - Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4