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Schoenberg: Violin Concerto; A Survivor from Warsaw ()

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Austrian-American composer Arnold Schoenberg lived through some of the worst years of the twentieth century and his music sometimes sounds that way. Five of the six works on this 2008 Naxos disc were written between 1942 and 1950, the years after Schoenberg had left Nazi Europe for Los Angeles and converted back to his natal Judaism. The spirit of those times brands four of the five works -- the anti-Hitler Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, the two grim a cappella settings of Dreimal Tausand Jahre and De Profundis, and especially the harrowing A Survivor from Warsaw. In the right performances, hearing any one of these works would be a searing and cathartic experience. Hearing them here in performances led by Robert Craft, the experience is certainly searing, but not ultimately cathartic. A Survivor from Warsaw is surely overwhelming. With narrator David Wilson-Johnson taking the dramatic lead and the Philharmonia Orchestra providing the accompaniment, Craft's performance is nerve wracking. But when the Simon... Hide synopsis

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