Album: Philharmonia Orchestra/Salonen, Schoenberg: Gurrelieder (Signum)

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The Independent Culture

Dramatically realised here by the Philharmonia under Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gurrelieder is a fascinating work which illuminates the development of Schoenberg's compositional style.

It starts out as a song-cycle and expands to operatic scope, its suitably Wagnerian theme – the dalliances and downfall of the mighty – realised by a gigantic orchestra incorporating six vocal soloists and three choirs of four sections apiece. Written in 1900, the Prelude and First Part are lushly Romantic in manner, but the final section, written 11 years later, is markedly different in style, the doomed hero's repeated pell-mell ride of death animated by startling instrumental colouration.

Download this: Orchestral Prelude, Tauben von Gurre!, Herr Gänsefuß, Frau Gänsekraut