This is a most useful collection. The most important items (and, in fact, the only truly ‘genuine’ chamber works) are the String Quartet and Lyric Suite. The others are arrangements of more than passing interest (at least the ones by Berg himself) but it is probably the two big works that will interest collectors most.
Recordings that include strings quartets by Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern are common, but an album that includes music for quartet and voice by each of them is a rarity. Schoenberg's Second String Quartet, with a part for soprano in its third and fourth movements, is standard repertoire, but the version of Berg's Lyric Suite with a vocal part in the final movement is highly unusual, and Webern's bagatelle with voice, an unpublished movement apparently once intended to be part of the Six Bagatelles, Op. 9, receives what is probably its first recording. Novelty aside, the high standards of these performances make this a formidable release. Founded just before the turn of the millennium, Quatuor Diotima plays with the assurance and mutual understanding of a seasoned ensemble. The quartet has a lean, clean sound and the ensemble is immaculate, playing with exquisite expressiveness, an ideal combination for this repertoire.
Excellent value box containing all of Berg's major works. The best performance is maybe Abbado's of Wozzeck. This is a live recording and sounds like it;very exciting orchestral playing that sometimes almost drowns out the voices . I dont think this is a problem as it kind of fits with opera's theme of helpless people up against forces they cant control etc. The Boulez recording of Lulu is also very good but here the lack of libretto in the package is a bit annoying as the opera has a very elaborate plot and the synopsis provided isnt really detailed enough to follow what's going on.
All three of Brahms’ string quartets appear in this 2-CD set, along with his piano quintet, recorded live at the Vienna Konzerthaus, where Elisabeth Leonskaja joined the members of the Alban Berg Quartett. The ensemble’s name honours the continuity and vigour of Vienna’s long musical tradition, which reached one of its Romantic highpoints with these chamber masterworks, composed in the 1860s and 1870s.
This ambitious and beautifully produced two-CD set includes nearly all of Iannis Xenakis' chamber music for strings, piano, and strings and piano combined. Chamber music constituted a small part of the composer's output, since large ensembles and large forms were vehicles more commensurate with the aesthetic of his monumental, granitic music. There are no small pieces here, though; in each of these works, ranging from solos to a quintet for piano and strings, Xenakis was able to express his uncompromising vision no less ferociously than in his orchestral works. While all of the pieces have an elemental character, many with a visceral punch, the actual sound of the music is surprisingly varied, and the individual works have distinctive and individual characters. In spite of the weightiness and rigor of the music, the tone is not necessarily heavy, and some pieces, like Evryali for piano and Dikhthas for violin and piano, have moments of what could almost be described as whimsicality.