San Francisco Symphony Release Recording of Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra
Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) today released SFS Media's first-ever digital-only album, Berg: Three Pieces for Orchestra. Recorded during live performances at Davies Symphony Hall in January 2015, the album is available now for streaming and download in stereo, 5.1 surround, Mastered for iTunes quality, and 24-bit/192kHz Studio Master. SFS Media is the San Francisco Symphony's eight-time Grammy Award-winning in-house record label which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, marking a decade and a half of innovations in recorded media.
In the album's liner notes, Michael Steinberg explores the place of the Three Pieces in Berg's oeuvre, as well as the influence of Mahler on the work, a trait that MTT-as a leading Mahlerian-brings out in this SFS recording:
"For the thirty-year-old Alban Berg, the Three Pieces for Orchestra mark the definite end-as definite as it ever got, anyway-of his apprenticeship to Arnold Schoenberg and his full emergence as an artistic personality in his own right. Though this work owes a debt to Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra, it does not sound at all like Schoenberg. One voice whose presence we sense is Gustav Mahler's, who had died in May 1911. The prevalence of waltz and march gestures contributes to this, but there are also more specific homages such as a passage in the Praeludium that is very close to Mahler's Ninth Symphony. No question, Berg is Mahler's most direct heir, and the Three Pieces are Mahler's Eleventh more than the Brahms First is Beethoven's Tenth."
Three Pieces for Orchestra had its first SFS performance in February 1978, with Edo de Waart conducting.
SFS Media is the San Francisco Symphony's award-winning in-house label, launched in 2001. SFS Media releases reflect MTT and the SFS's artistic vision of showcasing music by American composers as well as core classical masterworks and embody the broad range of programming that has been a hallmark of the MTT/SFS partnership. Recorded live in concert and engineered at Davies Symphony Hall, the audio recordings are released on hybrid SACD and in high-resolution digital formats. SFS Media has garnered eight Grammy awards. SFS Media also produces and releases documentary and live performance videos, including the SFS's national public television series and multimedia project Keeping Score, which included three seasons of television episodes, eight documentaries, and eight concert films designed to make classical music more accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds. The Keeping Score series is now available as a digital download and on DVD and Blu-ray. Other videos of the San Francisco Symphony available from SFS Media include A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein: Opening Night at Carnegie Hall 2008 and San Francisco Symphony at 100, a documentary about the Symphony's history, which won a Northern California Emmy Award.