January 11, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

Schoenberg: Chorus Music

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Pierre Boulez
Producers
Sony Classical
genre
Classical
We gave it an A

Chorus Music of Arnold Schoenberg may indeed be the perfect gift for the man who has everything, but as Mark Twain said of Wagner, the music is not as bad as it sounds. Schoenberg turned to the chorus throughout his long and productive life, perhaps never more effectively than in the 7 1/2-minute ”A Survivor From Warsaw,” written in a white heat upon hearing of the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto by the Nazis in 1943. Few composers have had a more persuasive advocate than Pierre Boulez, himself a great composer and a conductor of international standing. The intricacies of the 12-tone system are child’s play to Boulez (whose own music is far more complex); he leads his forces — and his listeners — through the thickets of ”Friede auf Erden,” ”Two Canons After Goethe,” and the ”Six Pieces” of Op. 35 with consummate ease. A

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