This powerful record brings together two of the most seminal works for viola and orchestra of the twentieth century. Although these pieces are as different as they are similar, together they form a distinct balance of sentiment and execution.
Das Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn, seit 1995 unter der Leitung von Marc Soustrot, wurde 1897 in Koblenz als Philharmonisches Orchester gegründet und zehn Jahre später von der Stadt Bonn übernommen. Erst 1957, mit Errichtung der Beethovenhalle, erhielt es seinen jetzigen Namen. Von großen Dirigenten geleitet hat sich das Orchester in der deutschen und internationalen Musikszene etabliert. Soustrot gehört zu den wenigen französischen Dirigenten, die sich nicht auf Konzert oder Oper spezialisiert haben und daher über vielseitige Erfahrungen in beiden Bereichen verfügen…
The first release of the first stereo recording of the work, the historical importance of this set of Wagner's Siegfried is undeniable. Recorded by Decca at the 1955 Bayreuth Festival, this performance directed by Joseph Keilberth was to have been issued as part of the first complete Ring cycle. But persuaded that only a studio recording could do the work justice, Decca decided to shelve Keilberth's performance, a decision that led to Georg Solti recording Siegfried with the Vienna Philharmonic and ultimately to the release of a Ring cycle that many still regard as the finest ever recorded. But aside from its inherent historical value, what's its aesthetic value? While much better than average, Keilberth's Siegfried doesn't challenge the established order.
Die Komponistengeneration Österreichs, der Horst Ebenhöh angehört, deckt - wie es ähnlich wohl auch früher gewesen war - stilistisch und kompositionstechnisch das ganze zur Zeit erfassbare Spektrum des vom Menschen Denk- und Hörbaren ab und ist unendlich weit gestreut.
Blickt man auf die zweite Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts zurück, erkennt man, dass sich einerseits in der jeweils kontemporären Musik vieles im Sinne der Avantgarde verändert hat, andererseits, dass vieles im Sinne der Tradition fast unverändert erhalten geblieben ist.
The listener may be forgiven for not knowing that any Debussy "Edgar Allan Poe Operas" existed, for neither of the works recorded here was ever completed. Moreover, and you don't learn this unless you read the notes or have investigated for yourself, one of them was hardly begun. After the success of Pelléas et Mélisande in New York, Debussy was encouraged to adapt a pair of Poe's short stories for a new American production. Debussy needed little encouragement and quickly produced a pair of scenarios, but other projects intervened, and the operas were never finished. The more complete one is La chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher), for which there are substantial sketches and several full realizations including the one here by "creative musicologist" Robert Orledge.
Franz Schubert never achieved the success as a composer for the stage that the aspired to, and even since his genius has been fully recognized, his dramatic works have not found their way into the repertoire. This is due not so much to the quality of the music, which is often very high, but to the fact that Schubert devoted himself to a form, thesingspiel, which wasn't quite an opera, but a play with interpolated musical numbers that fell quickly out of style and has never made a popular comeback. Several Mozart singspiele, particularly Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Die Zauberflöte, have remained in the repertoire due to the large percentage of musical numbers they contain, their dramatic appeal, and their extraordinary music, criteria that Schubert's work doesn't meet.
Karl Richter’s recordings of Bach’s orchestral and sacred music influenced an entire generation of musicians and listeners, presenting the conductor’s unique sound and style. When Richter recorded Bach’s works, he freed them from a ponderous tradition that had mired the music in romantic sounds and idiom. Richter lightened Bach’s music, and, with an orchestra of outstanding musicians, helped bring it toward the more modern interpretations that listeners have become familiar with today. This is still a bit far from the historically-informed performances that are pretty much the norm, but there is a unity and natural originality that comes through the music in these recordings.