Mining the archive uncovers this treasurable performance.
"Glorious" and "sublime" were among the epithets applied to the playing of Dresden's "Royal Chapel" ensemble when Mahler's Fourth Symphony was first performed in the city in 1908. Both epithets could be applied to the playing on this latter-day realisation under Giuseppe Sinopoli. Richard Osborne, August 2008 GRAMOPHONE
This disc explores that rarity of the classical repertoire, the harp concerto. The musical characteristics of the harp can provide somewhat of a challenge for the composer if writing a concerto for the instrument, but this disc boasts two wonderful examples that show seemingly endless possibilities.
Der Freischutz is one of the great milestones in the history of opera. The resounding success of its premiere in 1821 practically made it a manifesto for German Romantic opera, one that would become a significant formative influence on Wagner. Although it has its roots in the Singspiel tradition exemplified by Mozart's Die Zauberflote, Der Freischutz cut new ground with its potent mixture of supernatural elements, dreams, folk melodies, evocations of nature, and symphonic tone painting.
The Dresden Staatskapelle has a living Bruckner tradition, stretching back a century and more, which is lovingly curated by its new music director, Christian Thielemann, who is himself a powerful advocate for the composer’s symphonies as the pinnacle of the Austro-German tradition; and in particular for the Wagnerian resonances of the Seventh, whose Adagio was shaped by news of Wagner’s death in Venice. Hugo Wolf was also deeply affected by that news; his songs, like Bruckner’s symphonies, can be seen as oblique reflections on the influence of Wagner, especially when sung, as they are here by Renée Fleming, with the utmost delicacy and intimacy.
Not so under Jochum, whose new performance is grand, powerful, spontaneous. Aided by powerful sound, the performance is like no other in its power and impact though it partially resembles the Furtwangler in general intention. It is a more daemonic reading than the early Karajan or the Haitink. dramatic rather than epic but with a huge scope all of its own.
A new recording of Weber's piano concertos was obviously long overdue, and this one fits the bill more than adequately, coming as it does generously coupled with the much better known Konzertstück and in first-rate sound quality from HMV. Not the least of its virtues is the light it casts on the origins of the piano idiom of Chopin and Liszt and, in the case of the Konzertstück, on the very foundations of the romantic concerto. I wouldn't envy any historian out to determine who was responsible for which innovation in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, but certainly to hear so many fully-formed romantic textures in music dating from 1810-21 is an instructive, not to say startling, experience.
Peter Schreier is unquestionably one of the greatest tenors of the twentieth century. For over 40 years he was known above all for his embodiment of Mozart tenor roles, and dazzled as a lieder singer in songs by Schubert, Schumann and Hugo Wolf. The sacred works of Johann Sebastian Bach, his oratorios and passions, formed another key element in the repertory of this native Saxon. He sang at all the world’s major opera houses – at the New York Met, at La Scala in Milan, in Buenos Aires, Vienna and Paris – and needless to say on his “home turf” of Dresden and Berlin. Not forgetting his many years of guest appearances at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals. It was in Salzburg, in 1967, that he sprang into the breach as Tamino in place of Fritz Wunderlich, who died so tragically young. The successes that followed thick and fast upon that were to make Peter Schreier into the opera world’s Mozart tenor of choice in the course of the following decades.