Classical Records on CD: Zemlinsky: Lyric Symphony BERG Three pieces from the `Lyric Suite'; Altenberg-Lieder James Johnson (baritone), Vlatka Orsanic (soprano) SWF SO / Michael Gielen Recorded 1994 Arte Nova / BMG 74321 27768 2
Friday 31 January 1997
Zemlinsky's score alternates rage with repose, sensuality with spiritual calm and Mahler with Berg; in fact, Berg actually quotes material from the Symphony's third movement in the Adagio appassionata of his own Lyric Suite. Which, of course, makes for an ideal coupling, though this is not Michael Gielen's only recording of the Zemlinsky: a 1981 BBC SO concert performance with Thomas Allen and Elisabeth Soderstrom (BBC Radio Classics) is vocally distinctive but slower and less well-played. Here urgency is the order of the day and there's a worthwhile "extra" in Berg's concisely crafted Altenberg-Lieder where Vlatka Orsanic is more forceful than subtle and Gielen makes the opening song's propulsive introduction sound decidedly pre-Minimalist.
No texts are supplied, but at a fiver or less this makes for an astonishing bargain.
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