Schönberg- Verklärte Nacht, Brahms- Serenade no. 1 in D Major


Somm 0139 Cover


Johannes Brahms: Serenade no. 1 in D major, opus 11
Arnold Schönberg: Verklärte Nacht


Recording Producer: Siva Oke
Recording Engineer: Paul Arden-Taylor

Recording locations:

Verklärte Nacht: The Parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Dover, on 8 March 2013 as part of the Deal Festival, Kent.
Brahms serenade: Bushell Hall, Birkenhead School, 20th may, 2012 as part of the Two Rivers Festival.

Release date- June 30, 2014

Orchestra of the Swan, Kenneth Woods- Conductor (Brahms)
Ensemble Epomeo and Friends(Schönberg)

Caroline Chin* violin 1
Diane Pascal violin 2
David Yang* viola 1
Tom Hankey viola 2
Kenneth Woods* cello 1
Matthew Sharp cello 2
*Members Ensemble Epomeo


” Few, though, will have heard this nonet version of the Serenade, reconstructed by Alan Boustead in the 1980s, for strings, flute, two clarinets, bassoon and horn. In this live recording a slightly chubby ugly duckling in its orchestral format suddenly achieves lightness and clarity. Thanks to this aptly named Stratford-based ensemble, it has turned into a swan.”

“the sextet version, whilst obviously pared down in texture, actually has a greater intensity… they capture the build of intensity in the music, and one can sense that this must have been a captivating performance to experience live.  Despite the relative containment of the sextet version…. this is an exciting performance. “

Whether performed by sextet or string orchestra, Verklärte Nacht is usually interpreted to emphasise the dense textures, and half-lit effects of its richly voiced scoring; scene setting is usually the order of the day. But this group, the string trio Ensemble Epomeo with three extra players, instead strives for, and achieves, clarity of line and texture. The textures are appropriately bass heavy, and the two cellos dominate, but every line comes through with exceptional clarity. This gives the piece a new profile, with the complex but now clear counterpoint driving the music and leading the ear through the harmonic web. There is atmosphere here too, and much warmth in the ensemble’s sound, but that is never at the expense of the individual lines…  Generally, though, this is an impressive recording, and one that exposes many details of the score that usually remain obscure.”

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