Don't like modern music? You haven't heard THIS!
Thomas F. Dillingham | 09/12/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone arguing that recent modern music took a wrong track with Schonberg and his followers needs to hear what happens when serialism goes to Italy, via Dallapiccola. I call him the 12-tone Puccini. What a vibrant, passionate, accessible composer who at the same time never sacrifices or panders.z Why isn't this wonderful opera on all the world's stages? The opening line of the mother is indelible, the choral interludes stunning, the "fratello" motif both musically haunting and politically charged. The Songs of the Imprisoned is an amazingly beautiful choral work and utilizes the Dies Irae in a most moving fashion. Great instrumental sounds from an unusual instrumentation. Check out his Sappho Fragments also. The conducting and playing are superb, and the engineering is fine."
Great opera, and topical
Thomas F. Dillingham | Columbia, Missouri USA | 04/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This opera should change the minds of the most truculent enemies of 20th century music (even 12-tone)because, as the other reviewer has said, its dramatic power and the sheer beauty of the music will capture and hold almost any listener. Dramatically it has much to say to us in the 21st century; although it is set during the sixteenth century Spanish inquisition, the issues of the abuse of power and the ambiguities of guilt and innocence in the midst of political conflict are derived from 19th century sources and resonate in today's political climate. More importantly, the marriage of music and drama in this brief work is unusually effective for a modern opera. This performance is well-recorded and the orchestral and choral forces perform excellently, as does Jorma Hyninnen in the title role; what keeps this recording from being unquestionably superior to the Mondo Musica set, which includes also Dallapiccola's _Job_, is the less effective singing of Phyllis Bryn-Julson. Bryn-Julson is an effective singing actress, but her voice is edgy and unpleasant at times and seems not as right for the role as that of Magda Laszlo on the other recording. Because this set is a single CD and less expensive, it is likely to be the usual choice and there is no harm in that--it is a fine introduction to a great work, but if possible, try to hear the Gracis recording as well."
Liberate Your Inner Prisoner
Christopher A. Fulkerson | San Francisco | 07/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a most superb performance, first rate in every way, and very sympathetically rendered; you can believe these performers find this music beautiful, always a help with contemporary music! Well worth the money- very enjoyable listening."