VICTOR E. NESSLER: The Trumpeter Of Säckingen

Opera Complete Recording
Hermann Prey · Franz Hawlata · Regina Klepper · WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln · Helmuth Froschauer

2CD · C5187 PC: 21 (Special Price) UPC: 845221051871

VICTOR E. NESSLER (1841-1890)
Opera in a prologue and three acts
Text: Rudolf Bunge, Joseph Victor von Scheffel
UA: Leipzig, 1884
- Gesamtaufnahme / Complete Recording - 

The first performance of "The Trumpeter of Säckingen" on May 4, 1884 at the Stadttheater in Leipzig was an unprecedented success. For the hundredth Leipzig performance there was a procession with flaming torches in honour of the composer. "The Trumpeter" then began its triumphant conquest of the entire German theatre scene; within a few years the opera had been performed several thousand times and, by the turn of the century, had established its place in the repertoire of all the major opera houses. That great critical authority Eduard Hanslick showed most restraint, making an attempt to analyze the  „popular force, the winning something" in Nessler's "musical mediocrity", and concluding: "The most remarkable thing in this unprecedentedly successful opera is precisely its success." In 1884 – the year following Wagner's death, the year which saw the premieres of Massenet's "Manon" and Puccini's first work, "Le Villi", the year in which Bruckner's seventh symphony and Mahler's "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" were composed, – the tastes of the Biedermeier period and quaint romanticism had made their second conquest of the German opera world.

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Harriet Krijgh - Brahms Cello Sonatas

Harriet Krijgh, cello Magda Amara, piano

C5173 PC: 21 UPC: 845221051734

After the first album with french cello music and the very successful recording of the Haydn Cello Concertos the young cellist Harriet Krijgh continues now with the pearls of german-romantic cello literatur: the recording of boht cello sonatas by Johannes Brahms.

I used to play the fiddle myself’, Johannes Brahms once told his Viennese composer colleague Richard Heuberger, ‘but my instrument was the cello. I played concerts on it’. That Brahms’ two cello sonatas were ‘miraculous pearls of chamber music’, as a critic wrote in the Neue Berliner Musikalische Zeitung in 1873, was sadly not recognized by all contemporaries at once. Some listeners were simply floored by the dense texture of the compositions. But a short time later, they were to establish themselves everywhere and have ranked among the outstanding works in the cello repertoire up to today.



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Anne Schwanewilms

Schumann: Liederkreis op.39 · Wolf: Mörike-Lieder
Manuel Lange, piano

1CD · C5166 PC: 21 UPC: 845221051666

Anne Schwanewilms ranks among the greatest Strauss and Wagner interpreters today, but her secret love still belongs to the Lied. ‘Up to now I insist on my song recitals, that means pursuing the path of my soul, then I am the orchestra, the singers, the driving force with all together. The pianist is my most important partner, and it is quite simple communication to produce pure music, in the simplest form.’

For her new album, the soprano celebrated worldwide quite deliberately chose songs by Robert Schumann and Hugo Wolf. ‘It is the conception of a ‘somnambulist’s gait’, enlivened by memories, dreams and steps back into the past – for the tranquillity that can emerge with Schumann and Wolf is for me incredibly intensive and fascinating.’ Anne Schwanewilms is accompanied by the pianist and song expert Manuel Lange.





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Franz Schmidt: Notre Dame

Opera Complete Recording
Jones · King · Moll · Laubenthal · RSO Berlin · Christof Perick

2CD · C5181 PC: 21 UPC: 845221051819


FRANZ SCHMIDT (1874-1939)
Romantic Opera in 2 Acts
Text: Leopold Wilk, Franz Schmidt
- Gesamtaufnahme / Complete Recording - 

"Notre Dame" immediately evokes the hunchbacked bellringer, Quasimodo, and the films with C. Laughton and A Quinn; one remembers a gruesome, bloodthirsty tale from the late Middle Ages about deformed people, gypsies, villains, knights and priests. With their percise feel for the psychology of the plot, Franz Schmidt and his librettist Leopold Wilk condensed and modified the story and shifted its emphasis. In his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo's prime intent was to portray 19th century Paris (with Notre Dame Cathedral as the symbolic main character) and to express his social concern for outcasts and the aesthetic and moral worth of ugliness. The opera is dominated not by Paris, not by Quasiomodo (of the five main characters, he has the smallest part), but by Esmeralda. She is at the centre oft the web of stories which make up the plot. The four principal male characters, Phoebus, Gringoire, the Archdeacon, and Quasimodo, have one thing in common – their love for Esmeralda. Men seem to be irresistibly attracted to her, even "bewitched". The lives of these four men are changed, and later destroyed, by their passion for Esmeralda. Meeting Esmeralda has disastrous consequences for all people involved. In her effect on men and the ensuing events, Esmeralda reminds one of Lulu. She is the innocent sister of child-woman Lulu. – However, Alban Berg was not to write his opera for another thirty years.

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Franz Schreker: Der Ferne Klang

Opera Complete Recording
Moser · Schnaut · Von Halem · Nimsgern · RSO Berlin · Gerd Albrecht

2CD · C5178 PC: 21 UPC: 845221051789


FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934)

Opera in 3 Acts · Text: Franz Schreker
- Gesamtaufnahme / Complete Recording - 
Der ferne Klang came into being from a twofold need. As a young man I was in a ferment: youth and longing clamoured for self-expression. Longing – to attain an artistic ideal, fame, joy in life, a woman, love! And I wanted to create, wanted to mould everything into sound pictures […] Then in the nick of time I thought of myself, of the drama of growing up, of the folly of this life with its uncertain issue, of all the tragedies that harshly befall us and now and again – often only fleetingly – involve us in their confusion of scene. And I wrote Der ferne Klang out of myself, out of my own youthful experience. (Franz Schreker)

The sensational reception of Der ferne Klang at its first performance on 18 August 1912 in Frankfurt set on foot Schreker's unusually successful career as an opera composer: his works often achieved a higher number of performances than the music-dramas of Richard Strauss. His appointment as teacher at the Vienna Academy of Music enabled him to concentrate on further operas: Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin (1909 -1912), Die Gezeichneten (1912 -1915) and Der Schatzgräber (1916 -1919). In 1920 Franz Schreker took over the direction of the Berlin High School for Music. He appointed lecturers there of the rank of Arthur Schnabel and Paul Hindemith. Violent political attacks forced Schreker in 1932 to resign his position as director. His work was suppressed and still remained largely forgotten for decades after the war.
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