29 December 2009


Sony have reissued a slew of Boulez-conducted recordings. The contents of just a few of these:
Boulez conducts Schoenberg I (5 discs)
CD1: Suite op.29, Verklärte Nacht (string sextet), Three Pieces for Chamber Orchestra
CD2: Die Jakobsleiter, Chamber Symphony No. 1, Begleitmusik au einer Lichtspielszene
CD3: Serenade op.24, Five Pieces for Orchestra op.16, Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte
CD4: Die gluckliche hand, Variations op.31, Verklärte Nacht (string orchestra)
CD5: Erwartung, Pierrot Lunaire, Lied der Waldtaude

Boulez conducts Schoenberg II (6 discs)
CD1 & 2: Choral Works
CD3 & 4: Gurre-Lieder, Orchestral Songs op.22
CD5 & 6: Moses und Aron, Chamber Symphony No.2

Boulez conducts Stravinsky, Messiaen, Dukas, Falla (4 discs)
CD1: Stravinsky The Firebird Suite, Pulcinella Suite, Scherzo fantastique, Suites 1 & 2
CD2: Stravinsky Petrushka, The Rite of Spring
CD3: Messiaen: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, Couleurs de la cité céleste, Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments
CD4: Dukas: La Peri, de Falla: The Three-Cornered Hat, Harpsichord Concerto
The Stravinsky & al. set I found for an irresistable price (< $17 including shipping), so I keenly await its delivery.

Two items, interest in which practically drives satisfaction for the price all on their own, are the de Falla Harpsichord Concerto (which has been only a name to me these long years), and Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, which I first heard live in Rochester, played by the Eastman School Wind Ensemble. Such a vivid impression did that performance make, that a CD I afterwards bought of the piece (some conductor other than Boulez) seemed colorless in comparison.


PC said...

Karl! I have a recording of de Falla himself playing the concerto. Moyse is playing the flute part!

De Falla wrote the concerto for Landowska, but I think he was unhappy with her approach.

PC said...

And if you ask, I might share the recording with you.

Bruce Hodges said...

Karl, I first heard "Et exspecto" only recently, about 2 years ago, with Levine and the Met Orchestra, and was floored by the piece. It is so extreme--to my ears, even for Messiaen.

During the long pauses (which I later found out are meticulously specified in the score) a number of us in the audience thought something was physically *wrong* with Levine. He would stop conducting and almost seemed to be slumping over, before reviving again for the next sequence of chords. A fascinating experience.

Cato said...

The Boulez Gurrelieder remains one of the best and most powerful recordings of the work. Jess Thomas is outstanding, rivaling Siegfried Jerusalem in Chailly's Decca recording.

Listen especially to Waldemar's last song in Part II, (Du strenger Richter droben), where Boulez cranks up the percussion to emphasize Waldemar's growing rage in this prayer against God. No other performance on CD matches those 3 minutes.

The Chailly CD has a better Waldtaube in Brigitte Fassbänder, and also has (in his 80's at the time) Hans Hotter as the Sprecher. Boulez, however, brings out a slow-burning fury in the score.