All thanks for this audiophile rarity go to Mats Sibelius’ only opera, the one-act “The Maiden in the Tower”, is hobbled by a shallow Swedish libretto that’s basically a recounting of the Rapunzel myth. Like Kullervo and many other early works, it was well received initially by its Northern European audience, but Sibelius soon withdrew it to his desk drawer, discouraging further performances. It’s too bad that the text is so insipid, since there is some interesting music here: a passionate, even overwrought, prayer from the imprisoned Maiden to the Virgin Mary, twice soaring up to a High B. In the next scene the chorus of villagers sings the opera’s most memorable tune, a hymn to spring before they repudiate the Maiden, who they unjustly accuse of being the Bailiff’s prostitute. This scene has hints of the bass pedal points that became one of the composer’s most recognizable fingerprints. The Maiden’s sad prayer returns as an interlude before the scene with her fiancé that leads to the confrontation with the Bailiff and the all-too-neat ending in which the castle-owner’s wife observes the happenings and orders the Maiden freed and the Bailiff arrested.
Composer: Jean Sibelius
Performer: Mari-Ann Häggander, Erland Hagegård, Tone Kruse, Jorma Hynninen, The Gothenburg Concert Hall Choir Orchestra: The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Number of discs: 1
DR-Analysis: DR 13 Size: 2.03 GB
All thanks for this masterwork go to Jean-Luc This is one great recording of this great work. Without being too wordy. This recording will show you how good your system really is. Get it..It’s also a great performance as well. Barely seven minutes into the performance and we already experience a triumphant exultation–one beautiful soaring melody after another in this wonderful celebration of life.
Yes, there is great singing (all the soloists and choirs are magnificent!) but even more important are the absolutely GORGEOUS parts for the human voice. This is why the human voice is the greatest of all musical instruments. If you like beautiful singing at its passionate best, this is a performance you will return to frequently.
The “Symphony of a Thousand” (a poetic rather than literal title) was a Tennstedt specialty. The most admired part of his EMI Mahler cycle was this symphony; he recorded it in 1986, in fairly distant sound that exhibits a good deal of digital glassiness. The conductor was battling throat cancer, first diagnosed in 1985, which forced him to step down as pricnipal conductor of the London Phil. in 1987, having held the post for only four years. His returns to London thereafter were considered unique events, all the more fragile because of Tennstedt’s precarious health and last-minute cancellations. On this occasion the energy that he summons is monumental and one must say, heroic. Even Bernstein didn’t marshal the gigantic forces of the Mahler Eighth with such command and breadth, as if embracing a musical cosmos.
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Performer: London Philharmonic Choir, Tiffin School Boys’ Choir, Elizabeth Connell, Edith Wiens, Felicity Lott, Trudeliese Schmidt, Nadine Denize, Richard Versalle, Jorma Hynninen, Hans Sotin Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Klaus Tennstedt
Number of discs: 2
DR-Analysis: DR 15 Size: 1.71 GB