Records and die Vienna Philharmonic,nconducted by Christoph Van Dohnanyi,nhave provided an interesting recordingn(LDR71015) of two seldom-heard worksnthat plot two points in Schoenberg’sncareer. The earlier of the two, SixLieder,nOp. 8 (1904), is in the same late-nRomantic vein as Gurre-Lieder, annopulent, extravagant rendition of poeticntexts which should be enjoyed by fans ofnsimilar excesses by Strauss and Mahler.nErwartung, Op. 17, written just fournyears later, is in a different world. Herenthe dissolution becomes explicit.nThough orchestrally rich, the music isnatonal and athematic, and its disintegrationnparallels the emotional and psychologicalndisintegration of a woman whonfinds her unfaithful lover dead in thenwoods. She becomes unhinged, necrophiliac,ndelirious. Music to correspond tonthis is hardly pleasant but has dramaticnpurpose and effect. It is easier to understandnthe application of atonal techniquento dramatize disorder, though, than it isnto comprehend why Schoenberg completelynemancipated it as the new normnof music. The progress of Schoenberg’snregress is fascinating to follow, as in ancomparison of Erwartung to the piecenthat preceded it: Five Pieces for Orchestra,nOp. 16. (The two recordings arenavailable on Nonesuch.) The tensionnbetween the two directions in which henwas being pulled is about equal and isncompellingly conveyed in the music.nOne final note. The jacket cover of thisnalbum is illustrated with a painting bynSchoenberg which is reminiscent of hisnself-portrait, surely next to Van Gogh’snas one of the most disturbing and depressingnvisions a man could have of himself.nThere were a few composers at the be­n48inChronicles of Culturenginning of the century who seemed obliviousnto the deliberate evisceration ofntonality and the resultant destruction ofnform. One of the greatest of these wasnJean Sibelius (1865-1957), whose work isnregaining popularity. Critics proclaimnthe death of the symphony about asnoften as they do the death of the novel.nBut in 1934 Constant Lambert saw Sibeliusnas the salvation of the exsanguinatednsymphonic form, indeed as the greatestnsymphonist since Beethoven, and prophesiednthat his music would one day providenthe inspiration for an escape fromnthe “official resolution” of Schoenbergnetal.nOne of Sibelius’s best was his SymphonynNo. 5. No one had to tell Sibeliusnhis music was good. He proclaimed: “Inbegin already dimly to see the mountainnI shall certainly ascend… God opens Hisndoor and His orchestra plays the FifthnSymphony.” Such a claim may be rathernextravagant, but the transcendent is perceptiblenin this mighty work, imbuednwith the feeling of some elemental force.nA new digital recording of the Fifth Symphonynis available in stunning sound onnLondon Records (LDR 71041). It is performednby the Philharmonia Orchestranconducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy. Thenfirst movement has the requisite powernnnand sweep of a great performance, but bynthe last movement that immense powernis only partially evident. A laudatory reviewnin the Washington Post stated thatnAshkenazy “does not take the ‘monumental’napproach but a hearteninglynvital one: Every phrase seems convincinglynalive.” But this is not detail music;nit is monumental; as effective as itsndetails are, they are better when one doesnnot notice them in isolation.nConstant Lambert’s hope that Sibeliusnwould bfecome a source of inspirationn(not imitation) has been realized in thenwork of his fellow Englishman EdmundnRubbra(1901-). (Also, most explicitly innWilliam Walton’s exciting First Symphony,n1935, now domestically availablenon Nonesuch 71394). Chandos Records,nan English company, has released annAustralian recording of Rubbra’s SymphonynNo. 5 in B-Flat, Op. 63 (1947-n48), the opening measures of whichnsound quite Sibelian indeed. But the impressionnis momentary, as are the instancesnof Elgarian and English pastoralistninfluences. Melodically strong andnmemorable, lyrical, beautiful, and tonallynstructured, this moving musicnmight as well be asking’ ‘What crisis ?” innthe face of the doomsayers of Westernnart. Listen to the Sibelian climax in thenthird movement marked Grave, or thenecstatic brass resounding in the finalnAllegro vivo. Over 80, Rubbra has writtenneleven symphonies. But who has evernheard of him? That music of this staturenand quality is neglected in the concertnhalls and recording studios, which reverberateninstead with the modern musicalngrinds of the twelve-tone formula, is andisgrace. Dn