Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

SCHOENBERG: 6 Orchestral Songs / Six Pieces for Male Chorus / Kol Nidre / Friede auf Erden etc

Simon Joly Chorale/Philharmonia Orchestra/Jennifer Welch-Babidge/David Wilson-Johnson/Robert Craft

Volume VII of the Robert Craft Schoenberg Collection

Naxos 8.557525 [TT: 78:30]

Here is some three hours compelling listening for you! By this, I mean to suggest that this fascinating CD contains some of Schoenberg's most challenging music (not long ago his Op 35 Six Pieces for Male Chorus a cappella were reckoned impossible to sing accurately) and will reward two or three playings.

I had reservations about Jennifer Welch-Babidge's voice in the Wagnerian Songs Op 8, but how rarely anyone tackles these? The choir (trained by Simon Joly) is magnificent, and the high spot is the little masterpiece Kol Nidre of 1938, banned in synagogues because of the composer's deviation from Orthodox ritual. With David Wilson-Johnson as the Rabbi-narrator (in English) this is a brief but unforgettable experience.

And, cunningly structuring the disc to be listened to straight through, it finishes with excerpts from the Golden Calf scene of Moses & Aaron.

A terrific bargain at Naxos' regular price; well documented and with available texts accessible at http://www.naxos.com/libretti/8.557525.htm

Peter Grahame Woolf