James Levine conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, DG 419781.
The hundredth anniversary of Arnold Schoenberg's "scandal concert," the greatest musical uproar of the twentieth century, arrives on Sunday. (Sorry, Rite of Spring, your tumult is a bit too typical of long-standing practices of French cultural politics.) Will Robin, proprietor of the blog Reflections on the Rite, concedes that the Schoenberg event "may take the cake" in the annals of musical mayhem, and provides a good summary of what went down. On the anniversary itself, the Musikverein in Vienna, site of the brouhaha, will present a curious all-Italian program under the direction of Fabio Luisi. Six days later, though, the RSO Wien, under Cornelius Meister, will re-create the concert note for note, if not blow by blow — Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra, four of Zemlinsky's Maeterlinck Lieder, Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1, two of Berg's Altenberg settings — and will conclude with the Kindertotenlieder that went unheard when police called things to a halt. I'm happy to see that the Webern (audio from the fourth movement above) will be performed in its extravagant original version, with the two trombones that play only five very soft notes.