Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|von Magnus, Erdmann, Iven|
Szenen Aus Goethes Faust (Hybr)
Nicolaus Harnoncourt's acclaimed 2008 performances of Schumann's rarely heard masterpiece Szenen aus Goethes Faust with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra were recorded live and edited for this exciting new release. Harnonc... more »
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Nicolaus Harnoncourt's acclaimed 2008 performances of Schumann's rarely heard masterpiece Szenen aus Goethes Faust with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra were recorded live and edited for this exciting new release. Harnoncourt's long association with the orchestra includes impressive opera productions and a great number of symphony concerts, including works by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Dvorak. Much of the repertoire Harnoncourt conducted with the Concertgebouw has been recorded and received many awards. Harnoncourt was appointed honorary guest conductor in 2002.
A mellifluous, cultivated reading that could be more dramati
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 11/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Harnoncourt has developed a reputation for perverse interpretations (bangy Mozart, romanticized Handel0, but he has always been soft-grained in Schumann. In the notes to this live recording from the spring of 2008, he suggests that Schumann was a greater musical genius than Wagner, and contends that if he had lived longer -- and not gone mad -- Schumann would have outshone Wagner. But that's the only touch of perversity in a reading of the "Scenes from Goethe's Faust" that is smooth, genial, and thoughtfully shaped from bar to bar. One rarely hears this unusual hybrid of opera and oratorio in the concert hall, but connoisseurs of Schumann have always extolled the score, and over the years notable conductors like Abbado and Benjamin Britten have lavished their talents to popularize it.
I'd judge that Harnoncourt's is the most lyrical and relaxed of the three accounts. His relationship with the Royal Concertgebouw goes back to the Seventies, and they play at their most mellow and polished for him. The only flaw I can find is that there are no real vocal stars in the cast. As well as everyone sings, one misses a standout voice like Bryn Terfel for Abbado. Gerhaher's Faust isn't very colorful, and Alistair Miles's Mephisto turns a bit gargly at times. The engineers have caught everything in impeccable, vivid sound, and not a single passage is less than beautiful. Still, how many average listeners will be won over to Schumann's mostly reflective, poetic treatment of Goethe's drama? One never knows.
Here's a cast list:
Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Christiane Iven (soprano), Alastair Miles (bass), Werner Güra (tenor), Mojca Erdmann (soprano), Birgit Remmert (alto), Elisabeth von Magnus (alto) & Franz-Josef Selig (bass)
Netherlands Radio Choir, Netherlands Children's Choir & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (honorary guest conductor)"