When we think of Arnold Schoenberg, the concept of "fun" isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Schoenberg was a "serious cat" -- perhaps the ultimate serious cat. Certainly, he did not view his Brettl-Lieder -- cabaret songs he wrote in his twenties -- as being particularly important, but they have become among his best-loved creations, as they have such a palpable sense of fun in addition to some surprising bits of his trademark hardy chromaticism slipped in for good measure. Soprano Jennifer Goltz clearly "gets" the good-natured jocosity of these Schoenbergian bon-bons and does a terrific job of elucidating the texts on MSR Classics' Arnold Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire, in which Goltz is partnered with the conductor-less, intriguingly named chamber ensemble Inauthentica. It provides a rich, flexible tutti in support to Goltz in the more usual Schoenberg song cycle Pierrot Lunaire. It's an excellent performance all around, though in the cycle the enjoyment is a little foiled by the recording, made at Claremont College in Pomona -- it is one-dimensional in perspective, and the level of Goltz' voice is allowed to fall a bit below that of the ensemble for much of it. The photographs in the booklet aren't very well taken, but it comes with the all of the texts in German and English, which is very useful. If listeners already have a favorite Pierrot Lunaire, then this performance probably won't supersede it. However, for those new to Schoenberg's vocal music, or more likely, interested in hearing these promising, up-and-coming performers, then MSR Classics' Arnold Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire won't disappoint.
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AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
|Brettl-Lieder (Cabaret Songs), for voice & piano|
|Pierrot lunaire, melodrama for voice & chamber ensemble, Op. 21|