Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz Schreker, Vassily Sinaisky, Katarina Karnéus|
Schreker - Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 ~ Vorspiel zu einer grossen Oper · Prelude to "Das Spielwerk" · Romantic Suit · Five Songs / Karnéus · BBC Philharmonic · Sinaisky
Genres: Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
One hit, one guilty pleasure, and....
Jdaniel1371 | Sacramento, CA United States | 11/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chandos has just released Vol II of Schreker's orchestral works performed by
a top-flight orchestra, led by a sensitive conductor, and graced with
exceptional sound. (Vassily Sinaisky/BBC Phil)Schreker's music is characterized by exoticism, perfectly judged
proportionality, heart-stopping chord progressions, textures of the greatest
delicacy...."Delicacy?" "Not the Schreker I've heard!" you say. But like Bach's Toccata
and Fugue or Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, I feel that Scheker's most
oft-heard work--his eponymous opera, Die Gezeichneten--is ironically his least characteristic.
While Gezeichneten has moments of great beauty and power, there are also
moments of bluster, claustrophobia, and Hollywood sheen, (though nothing as
saccharin as Korngold's Passover Psalm, Op. 30). I urge skeptical listeners
to venture beyond this piece and try Die Ferne Klang, the Chamber Symphony,
the Whitman Songs, or the works below--most of which are much less "over the
top" and, IMHO, of a much higher quality.Anyway, if you're looking for contrapuntal rigor to justify the
hyper-sensuality, you wont find it. I see Schreker as one of the first "wall
of sound" composers-- similar in aesthetic to Ligeti, Ives, or Varese.
Pieces are unified by harmonic leitmotivs, as well as intervalic ones.
Because Schreker cuts and pastes with Wagnerian moonbeams, (rather than
off-key church chorales and marches, vowel sounds, electronic bloops orfire-sirens); one might be tempted to dismiss the composer as just another
flaccid post-romantic. Don't.The Romantic SuiteThe gem of the Romantic Suite is the third mov't, or intermezzo. It was
originally written for a competition sponsored by the Neue musikalische
Presse, which Schreker won. For strings alone, it's lush but not heady and
brings to mind the rustic sentimentality of Grieg or Prokofiev. The rest of
the mov'ts are imaginative and fetching, though not quite on the same level
as his other suite, The Birthday of the Infanta.Funf GesangeWith the Funf Gesange, for low voice and small orchestra, (see!), sung
seductively by Katarina Karneus, we're back to major league stuff. The songs
are dark-hued and brooding, based on texts from Arabian Nights and by the
poet Edith Ronsperger. The music parallels the text, with the same kind of
hovering, Mussorgskian chords that Debussy found compelling enough to open
his Nocturnes with. And the chord progression under the phrase, "From tall,
slender flower vases..." is among the most gently ecstatic I've ever heard.
The disc is filled out with the Prelude to Das Speilwerk, and Prelude to a
Grand Opera. (Memnon.) Just to show I'm not a blind follower, I'm not so
thrilled with these last pieces. Written one year before his death, the
overture to Memnon is cast in a more astringent style and well proportioned;
yet for all its technical excellence, I found myself underwhelmed. In fact,
Schreker's appropriation of Eastern elements for the scoring of Memnon
sounds downright awkward.One hit, one guilty pleasure, and two misses--oh, get the CD for the first
G.D. | Norway | 12/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The second set of Franz Schreker's orchestral music from Sinaisky and Chandos is just as gorgeous as the first. The Romantic Suite is a relatively early work, but displays Schreker's mastery of orchestration to the full. The five songs, however, are the highlight of the disc. Opulent, chromatic and slightly impressionist, even, they represent a great step into the future from the Wesendonck-lieder that might reasonably be assumed to be the model, and they are excellently sung by Katarina Karnéus. The Prelude to a Grand Opera is a late work, and more restrained (and as a result, perhaps a little less immediately appealing).
Sinaisky and the BBC Philharmonic once again reveal themselves as brilliant interpreters of this music, and the sound quality is again top-notch. Strongly recommended."