Schoenberg - Chamber Symphony No. 2

Naxos: 8557526

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Schoenberg - Chamber Symphony No. 2



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Release date:

31st March 2008




78 minutes


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Schoenberg - Chamber Symphony No. 2


Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38b

Die glückliche Hand, Op. 18

Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, Op. 26

Mark Beesley (bass)

Simon Joly Chorale, New York Woodwind Quintet & Philharmonia Orchestra, Robert Craft



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Arnold Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38

I. Adagio

II. Con fuoco

Arnold Schoenberg: Die gluckliche Hand, Op. 18

Scene 1: Still, o schweige

Scene 2: Ja, o ja! Das Bluhen, o Sehnsucht

Scene 3: Das kann man einfacher!

Scene 4: Musstest du's wieder erleben

Arnold Schoenberg: Wind Quintet, Op. 26

I. Schwungvoll

II. Anmutig und heiter: Scherzando

III. Etwas langsam (Poco adagio)

IV. Rondo

BBC Music Magazine

September 2008


“Mark Beesley, the Simon Joly Chorale and the Philharmonic achieve a remarkable precision and bloom in this Abbey Road recording, while Robert Craft's direction… is more decisive and informed than ever.”


“Craft outshines them all”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“This eighth instalment of Robert Craft's Naxos cycle touches the polar opposites of Schoenberg's output. The radiant Chamber Symphony No 2 might be a beloved classic if Schoenberg hadn't so comprehensively queered his pitch elsewhere, while the Wind Quintet represents darkest deepest 'elsewhere', a work to challenge even the most devoted Schoenbergian.
This magisterial recording of the Quintet from the New York Woodwind Quintet marks a new plateau in our understanding of the work. As Craft's notes testify, performances during Schoenberg's life were normally conducted and lasted around an hour. This lithe, quicksilver version clocks in at 38 minutes and, with the right tempi restored, Schoenberg's contrapuntal labyrinth sparks into life. Melodic motifs evolve and morph into new terrain with profound inevitability, while his harmonic daring and recherché timbres now feel holistically connected.
The Chamber Symphony No 2 is another work where intellectual energy equates to a virtuoso instrumental showdown. The Philharmonia are fully engaged and Craft's fastidious approach makes every little detail count: but, as the cumulative impact of the second movement demonstrates, his ear is also focused on the larger picture.
The 20-minute melodrama Die glücklicheHand sits in the stylistic overlap between Quintet and Symphony. Mark Beesley's small but anchoring role is powerfully executed, while Craft's artful unpicking of the prickly orchestral and choral writing places the listener at the core of Schoenberg's dream-world.”

Presto Classical

James Longstaffe

August 2014

“Although much less frequently performed than Chamber Symphony No. 1, the Chamber Symphony No. 2 contains much fine music, and receives a thoroughly persuasive account here from the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Robert Craft. Also on the disc is a creepy performance of Schoenberg's drama in four scenes, Die glückliche Hand, for solo baritone, chorus, and orchestra, and an amazingly virtuosic account of the Wind Quintet by the New York Woodwind Quintet.”

Sunday Times

29th June 2008


“Craft has been recording his way through Schoenberg’s oeuvre for Naxos, and this disc is a particularly enjoyable stage, though not all will agree. The quintet, Schoenberg’s first large-scale use of serialism, is often seen as just about his most refractory work. But, as Craft explains, this has much to do with the fact that the difficult score has tended to be taken disastrously slowly. Here, the relentless polyphony is crisp and dazzling. The experimental Die glückliche Hand drama is a sharp contrast to the quintet’s neoclassicism, and the two-movement symphony, with its beguiling rediscovery of tonality, different again.”

The Guardian

2nd May 2008


“All [works] are first-rate. Craft is at his most persuasive in the Chamber Symphony - a curious hangover from 1906, which Schoenberg only completed in 1939. By then, his music was utterly different, and if the weirdly symbolic Glückliche Hand ideally needs a more vividly analytical sound than here, it's a rarely recorded piece that is one of the masterpieces of his expressionist period. The Wind Quintet comes as the biggest surprise, though. In an unsympathetic performance, it can seem one of the driest of Schoenberg's 12-note pieces, but the New York Woodwind Quintet show that, with the proper treatment, it takes on a charm of its own.”

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