Metamorphoses nocturnes: R Strauss, Respighi, Schoenberg | Naive V7423

Metamorphoses nocturnes: R Strauss, Respighi, Schoenberg


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Label: Naive

Cat No: V7423

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 26th November 2021



Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and the Metamorphoses of Richard Strauss: two postromantic masterworks conjoined ‘con brio’ in this album by Appassionato, the orchestra that has developed so successfully under its director Mathieu Herzog. And as a pendant, Respighi’s all too rarely heard piece Il tramonto, with mezzo-soprano Adčle Charvet.

Marking the creation of its own label, Appassionato here presents a carefully tailored album that confirms its maturity and unique character as a chamber orchestra as well as underlining its appetite for challenging projects. The shared intimacy of tone, harmonic twists and turns and expressionist aesthetic of Strauss’s Metamorphosen, Respighi’s Il tramonto and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht allow the strings of this ensemble – founded in 2014 by Mathieu Herzog – every opportunity to highlight its full range of lines, colours, subtleties and expressive interactions.

“The palpable sense of lyricism and poetry running through these three masterpieces of the post-romantic period makes a definite link between them,” explains the conductor. In this musical kaleidoscope, with climax following on climax, the material is always alive, tense, in constant movement, and subject to those transformative metamorphoses that give their name to the album: a showcase for Appassionato’s remarkable degree of flexibility.

The orchestra here reaffirms more than ever its capacity for expressive sound contours within the string textures – augmented as it is by members of major string quartets such as the Ébčne, Arod, Hanson, Agate, Wassily, Confluence, Akilone, Mona and the Trio Sōra.

Last but not least, it excels in bringing to life the dramatic narratives underlying this densely packed programme, which also features the voice of mezzo-soprano Adčle Charvet in Mathieu Herzog’s arrangement for voice and string orchestra of the work by Respighi.

This album is a live recording made on 11 September at La Seine Musicale in Paris, where Appassionato are artists in residence. The release will mark the launch of the label Appassionato, which sees the orchestra widening its activities to include record production, while also reinforcing its collaboration with naďve, to give its musical projects the best possible artistic environment.


I can’t recall a more hushed, breathless, furtive opening [to Verklärte Nacht] – and as the piece grows more febrile and impassioned, tranquillity rubbing shoulders with high anxiety, the precision (technically stunning) and high-voltage emotionalism of the performance become increasingly gripping. Real edge-of-seat stuff.  Edward Seckerson
Gramophone February 2022
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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