Did you know that the composer of The Merry Widow wrote a gut-wrenching scena for tenor and orchestra – a musical collage filled with reminiscences of the Radetzky March , bugle calls and café waltzes – in which a dying soldier sees his life flash before his eyes? Franz Lehár’s Fieber ( Fever ) of 1915 is the biggest surprise in this fascinating and beautifully recorded tour of the Austro-German musical twilight.

Verklärte Nacht

The album acts as a richly decadent corrective to anyone tempted to take a Darwinian view of music history, demonstrating that the potently chromatic, edge-of-tonality world we associate with Mahler persisted into the 1920s. As Paul Griffiths says in his album notes: “History does not happen all at once but settles slowly.”

Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (1899), with its echoes of Wagner and Richard Strauss, receives a lush, immersive performance here, with a large body of strings. The sense of light and tenderness in the final bars is sublime. But who knew that there was another musical imagining of Richard Dehmel’s poem, this one for mezzo-soprano and tenor, by someone who...