Ensemble Resonanz / Jean-Guihen Queyras

Berg: Lyrische Suite; Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht

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Alban Berg's Lyrische Suite (1925) was originally composed for string quartet, and Arnold Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht (1899) was written for string sextet, yet both have been performed in transcriptions for string orchestra that have made them more frequent concert fare. Accessibility was never much of a problem for Verklärte Nacht, which is a passionate tone poem in the Lisztian mold that appeals as much through its brooding D minor tonality as it does through its post-romantic lushness. Berg's suite is a bit more problematic for audiences because of its twelve-tone method and tense expressionistic style, yet the edge is taken off in the version for string orchestra, and rather more of the work's richness comes across when the ensemble is expanded. Berg orchestrated only three movements, so the version heard here includes arrangements of the remaining movements by Theo Verbey, so the complete transcription is a combination of their efforts. This 2014 release by Jean-Guihen Queyras and Ensemble Resonanz presents both works with vibrant sonorities and intense emotions, and they roughly match each other in duration, so the program has a satisfying balance. The recording is clear and present, and the ensemble's has a warm and inviting tone, which makes these performances especially enjoyable.

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