Berg: Violin Concerto;Lyric Suite; Three Orchestral Pieces
Rebecca Hirsch, violin; Eri Klas conducts the Neterhlands Radio Symphony Orchestra
Berg: Violin Concerto; Lyric Suite; Three Orchestral Pieces. Rebecca Hirsch, violin; Eri Klas conducts the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. (Naxos, 8.554755)
Alban Berg's 1935 Violin Concerto is the most romantic dodecaphonic music ever written. Dedicated "to the memory of an angel" (Manon Gropius, 18-year-old daughter of the former Alma Mahler), the concerto employs tone rows that hint at a tonality that isn't quite there. Elegiac, sometimes angry, ultimately beautiful, the concerto is as much a memorial to the Romantic age as a statement of modernism. Soloist Rebecca Hirsch and conductor Eri Klas take an appropriately backward-looking approach to the score. Hirsch's playing is especially warm, with tasteful portamento, and Klas' characterful conducting actually makes the music in 3/4 time sound like a waltz, which is something most forward-looking composers don't bother to do. In Berg's rich string-orchestra expansion of three movements of his Lyric Suite, Klas takes the expressive markings seriously but doesn't quite go all the way with them. Similarly, his reading of Berg's Three Orchestral Pieces is atmospheric, although he could cut loose more at the work's climaxes.
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