While it's not immediately apparent from the title, the unifying factor on this album is the fact that both pieces are essentially suites the composers fashioned from music extracted from operas. Berg's "Lulu-Suite" is a 20th century classic, created in 1934 when it was evident to Berg and his advocates that there was no chance in the repressive political climate for "Lulu" to receive a staged performance. In 1994 Henze derived "Appasionatamente" from his 1989 opera "Das verratene Meer," based on the novel by Yukio Mishima, and when he revised the opera in a Japanese-language version, "Gogo no eiko," in 2003, he also revised the orchestral suite as "Appasionatamente Plus." Although it is played without pause, the work is made up of clearly differentiated discrete sections. In spite of the density and complexities of its textures, it's among the composer's more accessible and approachable orchestral works because even though the orchestral writing is characteristically thorny, the emotional core of each dramatically charged section is vividly apparent. The musical language is in some ways similar to the Berg, but it's intriguing that hearing the Berg follow the Henze on the album, the "Lulu-Suite" sounds like a model of clarity and delicacy. The Essener Philharmoniker under Stefan Soltesz plays with the finesse, if not quite the fullness, of a world-class orchestra. Soltesz conducts with warmth and passion, but also with a precision and attention to line that highlight the musical logic of each piece. He draws transparent performances from the orchestra and soprano Julia Bauer in the Berg. The Henze was recorded live so there is some ancillary noise, but the sound is generally clean, if not especially deep.