Music to wallow in?

verklartenachtNo, not Flanders and Swann but rather a well constructed new recording from Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.  It contains music by four composers exemplifying that lush territory that lies emotionally, if not always temporally, between Wagner and the Second Vienna School.  The two central works were both inspired by Richard Dehmel’s Verklärte Nacht.  The first is a 1901 setting of the text for mezzo, tenor and orchestra by Oskar Fried.  It’s lushly scored and rather beautiful.  The sound world is not dissimilar to Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder.  Gardner gets a lovely sound from his players and some really gorgeous singing from Christine Rice and Stuart Skelton.  The second Verklärte Nacht is the more familiar Schoenberg piece for string orchestra.  It’s curious how without voices and with only strings it manages to sound almost as lush as the Fried.

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