Alban Berg as you’ve never heard before

Alban Berg as you’ve never heard before

Album Of The Week

norman lebrecht

August 26, 2022

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

This is Alban Berg as you’ve never heard him before. The English conductor Sir Andrew Davis has spent lockdown time orchestrating two works that Berg never intended for orchestra. The piano sonata of 1907-08 was Berg’s first published work, written under the admonitory thumb of his teacher Arnold Schoenberg…

Read on here.

And here.

En francais ici.

In Czech here.

In The Critic here.


  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    The piano sonata has been orchestrated by several people. I remember ?Concertgebouw doing it

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      The Verbey orchestration of the sonata was added to Chailly’s Concertgebouw recording of Mahler 1 on Decca. Both are performed very well.

  • pjl says:

    it was an extra frustration after all the lockdown cancellations that the Barbican concert related to the recording had to be cancelled because of a storm: musicians unable to get to London….I had a ticket and got to London from Brighton but was the marooned with all stations closed and had to pay for a hotel; so I can at least buy the cd!

    • John E says:

      Buy the CD where? I can’t find it listed as a current catalogue item anywhere.

      • John E says:

        And now further confusion has been created by the link to The Critic’s website, which shows the cover of a 2009 Chandos recording of Berg’s music by a different orchestra, conductor and soloists.

      • pjl says:

        on Amazon with pictures as out of stock but suspect not yet released…not yet on Chandos’s own site

  • David K. Nelson says:

    I may need to investigate this recording since I regard both James Ehnes and Igor Yuzefovich as favorite violinists.

    But the admittedly truncated account of the premiere of the Berg Violin Concerto does not entirely square with the accounts I have read, including those of Louis Krasner himself. Rather it was that in spite of pleadings from the orchestra, the precisionist Webern could simply not bring himself to run through the piece once to give them all a feel of how it goes, and then backtrack to correct errors. Rather, at the first error he’d stop and as a consequence they were getting no further than the first few measures. As the performance grew near they still had not gotten past the opening portion and Webern withdrew, with Herman Scherchen stepping in and giving the premiere, which Krasner did not describe as a failure but as a success that caused other orchestras and conductors to want to program the work. Krasner rather quickly gave subsequent performances including one with Webern conducting that went well, and a preserved broadcast of which might be the best way to hear Krasner in the piece.

    And contrary to this write up I’d say the Berg Concerto caught on impressively quickly, given that Krasner had an “exclusive” over it for a while. Szigeti was one of the first, and at least one broadcast by him survives, but Rostal, Gitlis, Ferras, Gertler, Kogan, Suk, Menuhin, Stern, Grumiaux, Hirschhorn — those are just among the older school violinists who took it up, and often recorded it. The record collector since the early 1950s has not lacked for good choices in Berg Violin Concerto recordings.

  • Jobim75 says:

    I admire these who created something from this dark time, was just lost time for me …

  • Peter X says:

    Dutch composer Theo verbey orchestrated the sonata in 1984.
    I look forward to hear Davis version.