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DIE LUSTIGEN NIBELUNGEN · THE MERRY NIBELUNGS

OSCAR STRAUS
Gantner · Evangelatos · Nowak · WDR RUNDFUNKORCHESTER KÖLN · SIEGFRIED KÖHLER

C5088 · 1CD PC: 21 UPC: 845221050881



Burleske Operette in drei Akten / Burlesque operetta in three acts von / by Rideamus
„At last! The reform of operetta!", exulted the critics after the first performance
of the Merry Nibelungs on 12 November 1904 in the Carltheater, Vienna. Johann
Strauss had been dead for five years and had taken the golden era of operetta to
the grave with him. And then there appeared in Vienna one Oscar Straus, and renewed this most Viennese of all genres with a work aimed at parodying contemporary society, as in the old Paris works of Offenbach. There every punch-Iine was laughed at, every musical allusion understood. There was equal laughter at the alliterative persiflage and the musical quotations from Richard Wagner's solemnity, there was laughter at dragon's-blood sausage and the dachshund dressed as a dragon, and at the parody of the Nibelung verse metre. And Oscar Straus's overflowing melodic richness gave enjoyment. Yet what lay, barely concealed, behind it all was also accepted: an attack on military display and Germanic arrogance.

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DER TAPFERE SOLDAT · THE CHOCO- LATE SOLDIER

OSCAR STRAUS
Kränzle · Stein · Dickie · Berger · WDR RUNDFUNKORCHESTER KÖLN · SIEGFRIED KÖHLER

2CD-Set · C5089 PC: 21 UPC: 845221050898

Oscar Straus was indeed born in Vienna (on 6 March 1870) but was not related to the famous Straus dynasty. In 1907 bis Waltz Dream, with Lehar's two years older Merry Widow, launched a worldwide Viennese fashion, until even Broadway reeled to the waltz step; and with his Chocolate Soldier, after a comedy by G.B. Shaw, he not only conquered England and the USA but, with his dramaturgically new musical form, is considered there a pioneer of the musical. There are plenty of evergreens, from operetta, from movies, lots of chansons and songs! “It is true – he once said – I am writing popular tunes to be chanted in the streets, but only in the choicest of streets“.
 

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ARIANE ET BARBE-BLEUE

PAUL DUKAS

2CD-Set · C7112 PC: 22 UPC: 845221071121

Opera Complete Recording
Marilyn Schmiege · Roderick Kennedy   Jocelyn Taillon
 · Mitsuko Shirai   Monique Baudoin · LNER RUNDFUNKCHOR · KÖLNER RUNDFUNK-SINFONIE-ORCHESTER · GARY BERTINIconductor

OPÉRA EN TROIS ACTES
Oper in 3 Akten · Opera In 3 Acts
Text: Maurice Maeterlinck
Gesamtaufnahme · Complete Recording

Numerous authors have worked with this story in all possible ways – as fairy-tale, narrative, novel, drama, opera. Among the best-known works are the fairy-tale by Ludwig Bechstein, the puppet show by Georg Trakl, the narrative by Max Frisch as well as several pieces of music theatre. These include Jacques Offenbach’s operetta, the opera “Ariane et Barbe-Bleu” by Paul Dukas – as well as the probably most prominent work – the opera “Bluebeard’s Castle” by Béla Bartók.
The opinion on Bluebeard and his last wife – who is the culprit? who is the victim? – has changed over the centuries since Perrault published his fairy-tale in Paris 1697.
However, a very similar analysis of the “battle of the sexes” was already presented by Paul Dukas in 1907, ten years before the premiere of Béla Bartók’s work, in “Ariane et Barbe-Bleue”, his tree-act opera which was first performed at the Opera-comique in Paris. Thereby the composer set a text by the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck to music.
The composer, who was known to be a slow worker, took seven years to set the libretto to music, at the same time altering it to represent his own vision. The result was greeted with great and ungrudging approval, especially by fellow composers and musicians. Vincent d’Indy thought that “Ariane” was the most important piece of music drama since Wagner; Karol Szymanowski, Ferruccio Busoni or Bruno Walter considered “Ariane et Barbe-Bleu” to be the most important French opera besides Debussy’s “Pelleas et Melisande”. Certainly, Dukas’ music for “Bluebeard” has way less exotic flair than Debussy’s “Pelléas”.
 
From the archives of Westdeutsche Rundfunk Köln this Studio Recording, produced in 1986, is now presented for the first time on CD. Former chief conductor Gary Bertini had a very good cast on his hand to do this interesting production.
 


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RUSSIAN ROMANCES

for solo voices and orchestra
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

2CD-Set · C5095 PC: 21 UPC: 845221050959

FOMINA · SINJAWSKAJA · KASATSCHUK · KOTSCHERGA
LNER RUNDFUNK-SINFONIE-ORCHESTER
MICHAIL JUROWSKIconductor



DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

3 Romances on poems by Alexander Pushkin op.46a
for bass and small orchestra
From Jewish folk poetry op.79
Song cycle for soprano, alto, tenor and orchestra
Six Romances on Verses by English Poets opus 62 / 140
for bass and small orchestra
Suite on verses by Michelangelo Buonarroti op.145
for bass and orchestra
6 Romances on words by Japanese poets op.21 for tenor and orchestra
6 Poems by Marina Tsvetayeva op.143a for alto and small orchestra

For a composer of vocal music in a totalitarian state such as the former
Soviet Union, the very choice of poet was itself a declaration of commitment which – quite apart from the content – was linked to the life of the writer and above all his ideological evaluation by the Party. In his song-cycles, Shostakovich, a virtuoso in eloquent rhetoric behind the facade of beating the drum for Communism, made masterly use of the symbolic resonances of names such as Pushkin who hated the Tsars, or the Futurist Alexander Blok, or Shakespeare's timeless critique of power, or the Jewish culture that was so brutally suppressed after the War.


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DER TAG DES GERICHTS DIE DONNERODE

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN

2CD-Set · C5098 PC: 21 UPC: 845221050980

MONOYIOS · SCHLICK · KÖHLER · JOCHENS · SCHRECKENBERGER
RHEINISCHE KANTOREI · DAS KLEINE KONZERT
HERMANN MAX, conductor

DER TAG DES GERICHTS · THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
Ein Singgedicht in vier Betrachtungen · A poem for singing in four reflections
DIE DONNERODE · THE THUNDER ODE
Kantate in 2 Teilen für 5 Solostimmen, Chor und Orchester
Cantata in 2 Parts for 5 solo voices, choir and orchestra

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first“. In addition Telemann lets the thunder, the wrath of God, rumble darkly and menacingly. The Lord, the Judge, approaches. The Day of Judgment begins. With these signals a gripping musical event starts that opens a rich, symbol-laden world of the most beautiful, inspiring, often individual artistic accomplishments of word and music to anyone who is prepared to come to terms with it. The group begun in 1755 of Telemann works of his old age includes, several sacred oratorios in an absolutely logical sequence – Der Tod Jesu, Die Auferstehung, Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, Der Tag des Gerichts - as well as the two-part Donner-Ode, a cantata on Psalm models on the occasion of the Lisbon earthquake. . In all these late works, always wrestling with a compositional design suitable to the subject and the text, Telemann in each case strikes a specific note inherent in the work; he employs his compositional means in a way that develops an unmistakably individual character for the work. In The Day of Judgment Telemann is also the master of colour, of superior use of instruments.
Thus it becomes clear that The Day of Judgment is not, for instance, only a monument in the history of the German oratorio, but introduces the theological discussions and eschatological thought of that time.

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