Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Schreker, Vassily Sinaisky, BBC Philharmonic|
Franz Schreker: Fantastic Overture, Op. 15 / Nachtstück from "Der Ferne Klang" / Prelude to a Drama / Interlude from "Der Schatzgräber" / Valse Lente / Ekkehard, Op. 12 (Symphonic Overture) - Vassily Sinaisky / BBC Philharmonic
Listen to Samples
Schrekers Schoene Klang
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 12/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Franz Schreker (1878-1934) belongs to that group of Austro-German late-Romantic composers slightly younger than Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler who made their impression, mainly in Vienna, around the turn of the century and later faded into semi-oblivion, overtaken by the so-called Second Viennese School of Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton von Webern. Alexander von Zemlinsky, Engelbert Humperdinck, and Franz Schmidt form up, more or less, in the same ranks; so, although younger, does Erich Wolfgang Korngold, whose sound-world is remarkably similar. The mid-century eclipse of these composers did them no justice, for each merited attention whether he received it from the critics or not. Schreker and the others share a good deal musically: Their idiom stems from Wagner, particularly the Wagner of "Tristan und Isolde." In the case of Schreker, the Wagnerian model manifests itself not just in the idiom but in the orientation to opera. Schreker wrote eight of them. His orchestral oeuvre consists of a Chamber Symphony (1917), which has persisted marginally in the repertory, a number of tone-poems, overtures, and opera preludes and entr'actes reworked for symphonic concerts. The Chamber Symphony suggests that Schreker might have maintained a stronger place in the repertory had he devoted more energy than he did to the orchestral genres. While indebted to Schoenberg, the Chamber Symphony offers a more appealing countenance, with none of the aggressiveness of Schoenberg's own First Chamber Symphony; the instrumentation - which includes a piano, a celesta, a harp, and a harmonium - makes a music that seems to hover, glitter, and glide among the pastels of a moonlit night. Alas, Vassily Sinaisky's program for Chandos excludes the Chamber Symphony, but what it does bring to our attention we ought nevertheless applaud. The most ambitious of these pieces, the "Prelude to a Drama" (1914), approaches the symphonic in scale and complexity; its rondo-like returning Allegro, with its syncopated rhythms, is especially exciting. The "Ekkehard" Overture (1920), takes inspiration from Viktor von Scheffel's similarly titled novel, a tale with a medieval setting about forbidden love, prowess in battle, and service to the Holy Roman Empire. To the huge orchestra, Schreker adds an organ, with its connotation of cathedral and religion. Both Sinaisky's performance and Chandos' sound beat those offered by Edgar Seipenbusch on Marco Polo, for some years the banner-carrier of this music. The CD also offer us the Symphonic Interlude from "Der Schatzgräber" (1920), the "Nachtstück" (1909) from "Der Ferne Klang," and the "Fantastic Overture" (1904). The quality of the playing and the conviction in the interpretations raises this CD far above the other Schreker anthologies, either Seipenbusch's on Marco Polo or Gielen's on Koch-Schwann. I think, finally, that the closest reference-point is Korngold; Schreker's music might have gone over big in Hollywood, had he lived longer, left Europe, and joined the other expatriate music-makers in the Californian New World."
Jdaniel1371 | Sacramento, CA United States | 11/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chandos has released a CD of music by one of my favorite composers, Franz Schreker. The release contains the Fantastic Overture, Nachtstuck, Prelude to a Drama, Interlude from Der Schatzgraber, Valse Lente, and Ekkehard Overture. These works are performed by the BBC Philharmonic and Vassily Sinaisky. If you like his music and have enjoyed what has come out so far, I can't recommend this new CD highly enough. Are there moments of glitz? Well, ok--a few. Are there moments that sound like Capt. Kirk launching the USS Enterprise out into space with phasers set for "Dolby Surround?" Yes, but this is NOT Schreker's fault--movie composers know effective music when they hear it!The "Prelude to a Drama" is actually the overture to Die Gezeichneten, expanded for use as a stand-alone concert piece. Sinaisky delivers a performance of exceptional clarity, bringing out the individual lines in climactic moments, which can easily sound like cacophony in other recordings. You will never forget the opening once your hear it.The real standout on the CD is the Nachtstuck, an interlude from Der ferne Klang. It's rare these days that a moment in music will elicit a "Wow" from me, but the "Nachtstuck" does just that. Oh, how it glows, especially with Chandos' typically luminous sound. Listen specifically from 2'17" to 2'50". I really think the autumnal Mahler would have been jealous of this moment--what a wondrous sound. Is anyone else reminded of Norgard's 3rd at this point as well?The other substantial piece is the Interlude from Der Schatzgraber. Again, Schreker displays his gift for melody, and supports his lines with some of the most jaw-dropping orchestral effects I have heard. Can anyone make a large orchestra, at full throttle, defy gravity and skip along as though it were playing a Debussy confection as well as Schreker?The Valse provides a delicate foil to the heavier fare, and I especially like the Straussianechoes in the Ekkehard overture.Enjoy!"
Charles Voogd | Underwaterland | 11/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why is it always Chandos that give us orchestral works we can really explore in very good sound and even better performances? Schreker has been in vogue a little for the last 5 or so years and there're some recordings of his orchestral music available (Conlon on EMI, some on MP) but this selection beats them all. If you ever have wondered how Jugenstil could be painted in sound then try this.Chandos is going to announce a second volume of Schreker's music with the same performers; that's going to be a feast too. Don't forget to explore Schreker's operas on disc. Listen to Die Gezeichneten (London/Decca, still available) and Die Schatzgraber (Capriccio)."