The key figures of the Second Viennese School are represented on this disc, and different aspects of their thought and development are highlighted in these orchestral masterpieces. Arnold Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra is a seminal work, and its primary placement here is appropriate since its expressionist atonality and compression of ideas paved the way for the pieces that follow. Set in high relief, the pieces are dramatically colored and tightly structured to carry intense -- and sometimes explosive -- emotional content. The influence of Schoenberg's Klangfarbenmelodie, first used in the third of the Five Pieces, is apparent in Anton Webern's extremely concentrated Five Pieces for Orchestra, where sudden changes of color are central concerns. Compared to Webern's set, Alban Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra are more lush and expansive and more obviously akin to Schoenberg's style. Berg's Lulu Suite, drawn from the opera, is even more elaborately conceived, built on a 12-tone row that admits tonal associations and openly lyrical melodies that contribute to the music's accessibility. In these recordings from 1961 and 1962, Antal Dorati's performances with the London Symphony Orchestra are direct and persuasive, yet without sounding forced. Mercury's original masters on 35-millimeter tape offer an extraordinary sound for this era.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Pieces (5) for orchestra, Op. 16|
|Pieces (3) for orchestra, Op. 6|
|Lulu-Suite, 5 symphonic pieces from the opera for soprano & orchestra ("Lulu-Symphonie")|