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Thread: Favorite Verklärte Nacht?

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Default Favorite Verklärte Nacht?

    I have only heard two versions of this towering work: the LaSalle Quartet (+2) recording of the original sextet version, and the Karajan/Berlin recording of the string orchestra version. I very much prefer the LaSalle, though Karajan does a good job with his recording. I just don't think it sounds as good with the fuller orchestration.

    What are some other favorite versions? I'm looking specifically for recordings of the sextet version, but since there are many more of the string orchestra version, feel free to name those as well.

    This one is quite famous, and was endorsed by the composer himself:

    51LXsgiFteL.jpg

    ... so I'm sure I'll pick it up at some point. But what are some others that we like?

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    Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

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    I've got these

    dwl OrpheusCO/dg
    cd Ormandy,PhiladO/tim 1934-00 205240-303
    cd Schoenberg/Pople version; Pople,LondFestO/asv 90-97 qs6195
    CD Karajan,BPO/dg 74-xx 474 721-2 + LP dg 74 2711 014
    LP Horenstein,SWF/vox mono pl 10.460
    LP Stokowski,StokSO/rca mono lm 2117
    CD Boulez,NYPO/cbs-sony 11cd 8876 542 9572 + cbs 77 76305
    lp Mitropoulos,NYPO/cbs s54068
    lp Desarzens,LausChO/westm st wgs-6296
    lp Ormandy,PhiladO/cbs mono ml4316

    CD Sextet version (1899)/Boulez,EnsIC/cbs-sony 11cd 8876 542 9572 + LP cbs 85 im39566

    I remember liking the Karajan and the Stokowski versions in particular, but it's been a while since I heard the work.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Jul-28-2019 at 09:13.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    I've got these

    dwl OrpheusCO/dg
    cd Ormandy,PhiladO/tim 1934-00 205240-303
    cd Schoenberg/Pople version; Pople,LondFestO/asv 90-97 qs6195
    CD Karajan,BPO/dg 74-xx 474 721-2 + LP dg 74 2711 014
    LP Horenstein,SWF/vox mono pl 10.460
    LP Stokowski,StokSO/rca mono lm 2117
    CD Boulez,NYPO/cbs-sony 11cd 8876 542 9572 + cbs 77 76305
    lp Mitropoulos,NYPO/cbs s54068
    lp Desarzens,LausChO/westm st wgs-6296
    lp Ormandy,PhiladO/cbs mono ml4316

    CD Sextet version (1899)/Boulez,EnsIC/cbs-sony 11cd 8876 542 9572 + LP cbs 85 im39566

    I remember liking the Karajan and the Stokowski versions in particular, but it's been a while since I heard the work.
    I think you owe it to yourself to hear the sextet version. I think it's much better. I don't know if I trust Boulez/Ensemble Intercontemporain to deliver a quality performance of it either.

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    The Boulez is OK, but it's not the most romantically coloured, as far as I remember. I tend to prefer the ongoings of the string orchestra version.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Jul-28-2019 at 12:46.

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    Senior Member Bourdon's Avatar
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    The London Sinfonietta David Atherton part of this LP box





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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    ^The Raphael Ensemble has a great disc of Brahms string sextets, works that I think share very much in common with Verklärte Nacht (they may have even been seen by Schoenberg as a starting point, I might assume).

    I can see the London Sinfonietta sounding great with these works too. They are a great band for this kind of repertoire.

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    Senior Member Bourdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    ^The Raphael Ensemble has a great disc of Brahms string sextets, works that I think share very much in common with Verklärte Nacht (they may have even been seen by Schoenberg as a starting point, I might assume).

    I can see the London Sinfonietta sounding great with these works too. They are a great band for this kind of repertoire.
    A very fine Brahms edition


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    Anyone have any opinion on Simon Rattle's recording? I heard it a long time ago, and it seemed to do all the right things in all the right places.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Not a recording but you can always download the audio...


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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    Anyone have any opinion on Simon Rattle's recording? I heard it a long time ago, and it seemed to do all the right things in all the right places.
    I still have it as part of a 2 CD Schoenberg set, but his Schoenberg didn't work for me, so I'll give another chance & decide whether to keep it.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Jul-28-2019 at 18:18.

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    Senior Member Heliogabo's Avatar
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    Barbara Hannigan's live performance is very good. The group is wonderfully committed. Thanks for posting it, Becca.

    In most conductor's recordings, I feel that the string orchestra version was more of an afterthought for Schoenberg, and that Verklärte Nacht works much better and makes more musical sense in the original Sextet version.

    I don't overly care for the highly regarded Karajan recording, which I find too lush (although it is well played). I see Verklärte Nacht as a more searing, darker, harrowing work, like Richard Dehmel's poem upon which it is based or was inspired by; though I wouldn't deny that it has romantic elements, or a sense of redemption through love within its content, narrative, & resolution, like Dehmel's poem.

    Among the orchestral versions that I have a high regard for, two performances come to mind: the first, a 1955 mono radio broadcast (in less than ideal sound) by Otto Klemperer conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and secondly, a current conductor that I think excels in Schoenberg's music, Riccardo Chailly, in a recording that he made early in his career with the RSO Berlin (btw, their Gurrelieder is exceptional, too). Chailly's Verklärte Nacht would be my first pick among orchestral versions.

    Klemperer:


    Chailly:


    As for the Sextet version, I've not heard a better recording than the one by the LaSalle Quartet. IMO, they are deeply inside this music, and make other groups I've heard sound superficial in comparison. I'd imagine that, interpretatively, it makes a world of difference when a group has additionally recorded not only the complete SQs by Schoenberg, but also many other chamber works by composers of the Second Viennese School, as the LaSalle Quartet did for DG. The Hollywood Quartet is good, too, but I prefer the LaSalle Quartet's interpretation, as their version just makes more musical sense to me (& they're better recorded). Schoenberg may have approved of the Hollywood Quartet's performance, but he never heard the LaSalle Quartet play his music.

    Hollywood String Quartet:


    LaSalle Quartet:


    As for other sextet recordings, I've read good reviews for the Prazak Quartet's version on Praga digitals, but haven't heard it: https://www.amazon.com/Schoenberg-Ve...s=music&sr=1-6. Like the LaSalle Quartet, the Prazak Qt. has recorded an extensive survey of Schoenberg's chamber music, not only of the complete String Quartets & String Trio, but also Pierrot Lunaire, the Suite Op. 29, Phantasy for Violin, Op. 47, and Webern's transcription of the Chamber Symphony, No. 9, so I'd be curious to hear their Verklärte Nacht, if the recording were to be played on the radio one day.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Jul-28-2019 at 20:12.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I have the Artemis Quartet recorded in 2002 on an EMI 2 CD. And the another version by the Schoenberg Quartet on the Chandos box set.

    https://www.amazon.com/Schoenberg-Ve...%2C152&sr=1-10

    https://www.amazon.com/Arnold-Schoen...=music&sr=1-11
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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    ^The LaSalle recording is great, isn't it? I'm surprised that the recordings of the sextet version are so few.

    I will have to check out that Klemperer recording. I am always curious to hear his recordings of 20th century works.

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