It is a concert performance, given and broadcast in Vienna in 1979, with one result being reasonably good sound. Another result is that the performers seem to warm up as they go, really hitting their strides about halfway through. In the case of Plácido Domingo, that could have been because he learned the role over a weekend, filling in for an ailing member of the planned cast. He is nevertheless one of the drawing cards of this recording, as is the presence of the young Italian soprano Mara Zampieri as the romantic lead Elaisa; her sheer dynamic range, with a slashing, edgy fortissimo, is impressive, as was the late-'70s engineering that captured it for posterity.
Opera lies at the heart of Rimsky-Korsakov’s colourful idiom, but performances are few and far between; this realisation of his penultimate and grandest stage work is a very rare and special experience. Kitezh is known as ‘the Russian Parsifal’, which encapsulates its mystical flavour and steady unfolding of a legend of redemption. A largely Russian cast (headed by the stunning Svetlana Ignatovich) and production team works within a set that moves from opulent naturalistic scenery to some startling theatrical coups worthy of Rimsky’s underrated dramatic instincts.
Compiled between about 1620 and 1650 by the Munich painter Albrecht Wörl, this manuscript collection of early 17th century baroque lute music includes dances and song settings by many of the earliest generation of lutenist-composers working in the ‘new tunings’ (accords nouveaux). Wörl’s ability to notate the pieces he collected with accuracy seems to have been severely hampered by the rapid degradation of his eyesight. Because of this, and the fact that Wörl’s lute book contains many unique anonymous works, this manuscript, which is full of beautiful music has been overlooked for far too long. Canadian lutenist Evan Plommer presents reconstructed and revitalized versions of 36 pieces in 5 different tunings for baroque lute, including Wörl’s elaborations as well as those of his own making.
Christoph Albrecht (born 4 January 1930, Salzwedel) is a German organist, conductor, composer, musicologist, and music educator. He has toured extensively as an organist, appearing in concerts and recitals throughout Europe and in the United States. He is the author of several publications on the topics of liturgy and hymnology. He has also written extensively on sacred music from the 16th through the 18th centuries, and has been instrumental in publishing many forgotten works from that period. Albrecht studied the organ with Günther Ramin. From 1943-1948 he served as organist at the Church of St. Mary in Salzwedel. In 1953 he was appointed cantor at the Naumburg Cathedral and lecturer at Kirchenmusikschule Halle. In 1960 he became director of the Kirchenmusikschule Dresden. From 1976 to 1992 he was organist and choirmaster at St. Mary's Church, Berlin. He currently maintains an active schedule as a conductor, organ teacher, lecturer, and organist.
Historia von D. Johann Fausten is an opera by the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) in three acts, with introduction and epilogue to the German libretto by Jörg Morgener (Jürgen Köchel) and Alfred Schnittke after the anonymous prose book of the same name (published by Johannes Spies in 1587). Wikipedia.