Anyone choosing the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s new recording of Verklärte Nacht (Chandos), conducted by Edward Gardner, will get a subtle and urgent account of Schoenberg’s early work for string sextet, in the composer’s orchestral version. This imaginative album of Austro-German late Romanticism also acts as a showcase for the Australian tenor Stuart Skelton. He is soloist in the symphonic poem Fieber, by Lehár, a curious mix of military march and waltz. Korngold’s Lieder des Abschieds (Songs of Farewell) bring out the wistful, poetic best in Skelton. And in Verklärte Nacht by Oskar Fried, based on the same poem as Schoenberg’s, Skelton is joined by the mezzo-soprano Christine Rice for this little-known, rhapsodic, post-Wagnerian outpouring, lusciously performed by all.
In Das Rosenband (Skani), Latvian soprano Inga Kalna, in her debut solo album, and pianist Diana Ketler occupy similar late-Romantic terrain: familiar songs by Richard Strauss paired with novelties by two admired Latvians, Alfrēds Kalniņš (1879-1951) and Jānis Mediņš (1890-1966). Accomplished and atmospheric.
This article was updated on 9 January 2021 to correct an error in the headline