The works on the present SA-CDs span Berg’s creative career from his first published piece, the Piano Sonata, Op. 1, here performed in the orchestration by Theo Verbey, to the Violin Concerto and the Symphonic Pieces from the Opera ‘Lulu’, the last works that were fully completed when Berg died at the age of fifty in 1935.
The Dutch violinist Isabelle van Keulen performs the Violin Concerto, for which she is well known. The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote last year: ‘Van Keulen brought Manon Gropius vividly to life in the concerto, matching her tone and expression to each episode; flighty and cheerful in the first, plucky and aggressive in the second, serenely resigned at the end, where Berg quotes a Bach chorale. The enigmatic folksong woven into both movements (hardly Bachian with its risqué text) had a mysterious feel, and van Keulen tied it all up in a performance as narrative as it was nimble.’