SCHOENBERG Pierrot Lunaire / Boulez 4576302

In 1997 Boulez touched on perfection, with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Christine Schäfer. . . . Schäfer's "Sprechstimme" is packed with inference and detail, while Boulez provokes another intriguing question by unifying ensemble and voice . . . In the final number, Boulez and Schäfer reach home more empathically than most. Boulez's composerly sensibility keeps Schoenberg's dialogue between tonality an atonality animatedly alive -- so empathic, yes, but then no one else as powerfully works with the paradox that Schoenberg's artifice also provokes a hyped-up sense of reality. . . . Pierrot of Pierrots is Boulez's 1997 version with Christine Schäfer, a predictable choice admittedly, but Boulez's instinct for how the twisted, dark psychology of Pierrot can be realised in sound is unrivalled. . . . Third time lucky -- Pierre Boulez's third recording of "Pierrot lunaire" probes into its dark psychology, and Christine Schäfer's "Sprechstimme" is idiomatic, accurate and boldly imaginative.