Early and Unknown String Works Limited Edition
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Eleventh in a series with previously unreleased works by well-known composers, this 70-minute 96kHz|24bit Audio DVD features the world premiere recordings of 22 string works (8 complete, 15 fragments) by Arnold Schoenberg.
The program follows Schoenberg's development from the very beginning to the very end of his career. Fong and the Rangzens are exemplary throughout; they render even the briefest snippets of music with expressive conviction, somehow suggesting the larger structures that Schoenberg never wrote down. There are highly informative notes by none other than Severine Neff. --Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise, December 2007
There are two types of music on this disc: very early compositions, written from age eight to 23 years, and fragments from that point on, including his Fifth String Quartet, which may include his final written notes. The longest piece, at 8:32, is the Romance in D Minor. The playing throughout is expert and committed … The sound is superb, be it one instrument or 10 -- the full complement of Rangzen Strings. --James H. North, Fanfare, September/October 2007
This is one of the most curious collections I have ever heard. It contains over an hour of music for strings written at various times in the life of Arnold Schoenberg, much of it incomplete in one way or another. What makes it worth your time and mine is that Schoenberg was one of the most original composers ever, and tracing him from his student days through to his unfinished Fifth String Quartet is a fascinating journey from late romanticism to the 12-tone system and beyond. This is all well played and arranged chronologically so you can follow his train of thought through his life. The notes are excellent, helpful and nicely written. Try it! --David Moore, American Record Guide, November/December 2009
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This recording features a selection of pieces and fragments written in Schoenberg's earliest years as a composer and, importantly, an amateur player of the cello and viola. Schoenberg was not a conservatory-bred composer, but began by imitating the pieces in his lessons and those he performed with friends. Popular waltzes, folk tunes, and the Romantic repertoire of the day inspired him in these largely self-taught efforts.
The works are performed beautifully and, ironically I suspect, with far greater expertise than Schoenberg and his pals could ever have dreamt of at the time. But the value in hearing these pieces - aside from their straightforward musicality - is they provide at least a window, however speculative, into the man's connection to tradition and understanding of what it meant to be a musician of his time.
A minor but important point to note is the format of this recording is an audio DVD. If you want to listen on a CD player, you'll need something like Cinematize to extract the tracks to CD.
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