Franz Schreker: Der Schatzgräber

Opera Complete Recording
Protschka · Schnaut · Stamm · Haage · Philharmonisches Staatsorchester · Gerd Albrecht

2CD · C5175 PC: 21 UPC: 845221051758

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934)
Opera with a Prologue, 4 Acts and an Epilogue
- Gesamtaufnahme / Complete Recording - 


Franz Schreker's operas were among the most played works of the Weimar Republic.  And, in fact, Der Schatzgräber was to become one of the most performed of all contemporay operas during the years of his time: in all 385 performances of the work are between 1920 – the year of the premiere – and 1932 in 50 different cities and productions. If these figures are compared with the 166 performances given to Alban Berg's Wozzeck between 1925 and 1936 in 29 different productions, then the popularity of schreker's opera is to be clearly recognized. Franz Schreker was almost exclusively a composer of operas – an almost singular case in the history of twentieth-century music – the reasons for which are to be found in his technique of musical composition. Schreker accepted and extended the independence of the individual harmonic (chordal) combination as a sonorous value in its own right as was first realized in Wagner‘s Tristan and Isolde. This is programmatically formulated in the Tristan - quotation occurring in the Interlude of Act III of Der Schatzgräber. As is also the case in the dramatic works of Wagner – certain tonal centres are utilized as "sonorous ciphers" for differing levels of dramatic meaning. Thus, in Der Schatzgräber the tone c sharp denotes the realm of illusion – the world of the treasure – while the tone d implies its opposite, the realm of reality or real life. 

The work was however not only Schreker‘s most successful opera but also his last successful opera. Its later sudden loss of popularity coincides with the change in cultural climate of the year of 1924, a change which is documented in the fine arts by the transition from Expressionism to so-called New Objectivitiy (Neue Sachlichkeit) and on the political scene by the initial phase of economic consolidation in the young Republic. 

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21st century portraits

ensemble xx. jahrhundert
Compositions by: Ming Wang · Axel Seidelmann · Ludwig Nussbichler · Christian Ofenbauer · Alexander Stankovski

C5171 PC: 21 845221051710

In the course of its more than forty years in existence, the ensemble xx. jahrhundert has constantly and successfully championed aesthetically diverse contemporary Austrian music: with commissions for compositions, world premieres in Austria and abroad, with radio productions and with the treatment of traditional cultural principles – in recent years particularly intensively in co-operation  with the Austrian Composers’ Society (ÖKB). In the course of five years, up to now 36 works by 35 composers have been performed in the jointly held concerts – not just a few of them were world premieres. The concentrated acquisition of new listening experiences and the exchange of impressions and opinions in personal contacts between the audience and the composers and performers take place in a communicative and casual environment.


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Signum Quartett - No. 3

BERG: String Quartet Op. 3 · Bartók: String Quartet No. 3 · Schnittke: String Quartet No. 3

C5163 PC: 21 UPC: 845221051635

Believing that an elaborate construction of the score and beauty of sound stand in each other’s way is a myth rooted in the 18th century. What links Beethoven and Schubert to the generation of composers around 1900 is their quest for a new sound at a time that the genre of the string quartet seemed to have reached the end of its development.

One thing is certain,’ Schoenberg commented about Alban Bergs Op.3, ‘that his string quartet has surprised me unbelievably with the wealth and freedom of its musical diction, the energy and assuredness of its presentation, its meticulous elaboration and its remarkable originality.

Unlike Berg, who developed his form of atonality as a radicalized continuation of tonality, Béla Bartók’s style resulted from a return to the folk music of South-East Europe. Bartók’s six string quartets show these changes as in a mirror. He wrote the String Quartet No. 3 in Budapest in 1927, at a time when he was discovering the characteristic severity of his musical diction.

A third route in the quest for a new sound was taken by Alfred Schnittke, born in the German enclave on the Volga in 1934. His course is characterized less by radicalism than by reconciliation. Schnittke’s so-called polystylism employs as a matter of course direct or alienated stylistic quotations from bygone centuries, embedding them in a modern and atonal context. 


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Andrea Zani (1696-1757)

Complete Cello Concertos
Martin Rummel, cello Die Kölner Akademie Michael Alexander Willens

2CD · C5145 PC: 21 UPC: 845221051451

The rumour that the solo concerto repertoire for cellists is limited has probably been sufficiently refuted in the meantime. But it was in the first half of the 18th century that the alternatives to Antonio Vivaldi’s many concertos were scant. Hence the discovery of twelve ‘new’ cello concertos from this period is correspondingly exciting. The fact that the discovery of these works by Andrea Zani is the success of a musicologist who wrote her Ph.D. thesis at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch (New Zealand) is one of the positive miracles of modern communications technology. Dr. Jill Ward has presented a comprehensive complete edition of all the currently known works by Andrea Zani and written an impressive biography. Only few detailes are known about the life of Andrea Zani. Born in Casalmaggiore on 9 September 1696 his way took him from Mantua, Milano to Vienna where Antonio Caldara was vice maestro da cappella at the imperial court. Zani’s death through the over-turning of a coach on a journey to Mantua in September 1757 cut short the career of a musician still in his prime, highly regarded by his contemporaries, and a not insignificant figure as instrumental music moved into the pre-classical era. 



Ramón Vargas - Opera Arias

Ponchielli: La Gioconda · Verdi: Simon Boccanegra · Boito: Mefistofele · Puccini: Tosca · Massenet: Werther · Gounod: Faust
Budapest Symphony Orchestra · Riccardo Frizza

C5165 PC: 21 845221051659

Music can do much, much more than politics, religion or sport. Where they separate, music unites; music encourages harmony in every respect. – Ramón Vargas

A reviewer once wrote that his voice was like two elements flowing into each other: the elegance and the technical sovereignty of a ‘Tenore di grazia’ like Alfredo Kraus and the silver core and the ‘tears’ of a Fritz Wunderlich.

Having sung more than 40 roles, Ramón Vargas is recognized as one of the leading lyrical tenors of the present. His interpretations of Mozart, Bellini and Donizetti are celebrated throughout the world.

In recent years, he has turned to the French repertoire with success: e.g. Werther, Manon, Romèo and La damnation de Faust. He has also devoted himself to Puccini and new Verdi operas such as La Bohème, Un Ballo in maschera, Simone Boccanegra, I due Foscari, La traviata, Rigoletto, Ernani etc. which some of them he presents the first time on CD on this new album!


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