Franz Schreker: Der ferne Klang (2 CD, FLAC)
Franz Schreker: Der ferne Klang (2 CD, FLAC)

Performer: Horst Fiehl, Werner Hahn, William Pickersgill, Andreas Haller, Paul Friess, Thomas Jr. Harper, Paul Friess, Elena Grigorescu
Orchestra: Hagen Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Michael Halasz
Composer: Franz Schreker
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Naxos
Size: 566 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Der Ferne Klang, opera in 3 acts

Disc 1:
01. Act I: Einleitung (Introduction)
02. Act I: Scene 1
03. Act I: Scene 2
04. Act I: Scene 3
05. Act I: Scene 4
06. Act I: Das war ein lustiges Spiel (Vigelius)
07. Act I: Scene 5
08. Act I: Scene 5: Ja, ja, ich weiss (Grete) – Scene 6
09. Act I: Zwischenspiel (Interlude)
10. Act I: Scene 7
11. Act I: Zwischenspiel (Interlude)
12. Act I: Scene 8: Liegt ein schones Kindchen in Moos! (Die Alte)
13. Act II: Vorspiel (Prelude)
14. Act II: Scenes 1-4
15. Act II: Scene 5
16. Act II: Ach, bin ich denn wirklich – so schon? (Grete) – Scene 6
17. Act II: Sagen Sie mir doch, Marchesa (Frauenstimmen)
18. Act II: Ballade: Die gluhende Krone

Disc 2:
01. Act II: Erlauben die Damen … Das Blumenmadchen von Sorrent (Chevalier)
02. Act II: Grete hat zu entscheiden (Graf) – Scene 7
03. Act II: Scene 8
04. Act II: Zur rechten Stunde kommst du, mein Freund! (Greta) – Scene 9
05. Act III: Scene 1
06. Act III: erinnerst Du Dich – das war eine Zeit (Schauspieler) – Scenes 2 – 4
07. Act III: Scene 5 – 7
08. Act III: Schutzen Sie mich (Grete) – Scene 8
09. Act III: Die Baume rauschen ein wundersam Lied (Grete)
10. Act III: Zwischenspiel (Interlude)
11. Act III: Scene 9
12. Act III: Scene 10
13. Act III: Wie hiess sie denn – fruher – ? (Rudolf) – Scenes 11 and 12
14. Act III: Scene 13
15. Act III: Scene 14

Scary work looks ahead to Bartok as much as back to Strauss

Most operas deal with the creation and rupture of unions. ‘Der Ferne Klang’ opens with a rupture in its opening scene, and an absence, as Fritz, a playwright, leaves his fiancee Grete to seek the mysterious ‘ferne klang’ (distant sound) that will enable him to create great art. This is the first in a pattern of reversals of traditional opera, that sees Schreker allude to, and invert, famous ‘worldly’ operas – ‘Die Fledermaus’, ‘Der Rosenkavelier’, even ‘Die Meistersinger’, and especially ‘La Traviata’ – so that his work ends in union, with life-threatening disease striking the male character for once.
This focus on absence gives the opera a metaphysical frisson that helps it transcend pastiche Richard Strauss. Not that this pastiche isn’t expert – the exotic, late Romantic orchestral colouring; the swoops of violence and calms of lyricism; the simultaneous disintegration and affirmation of melody; the self-reflexivity (the hero-artist; the number of stage orchestras).
But there is a supernatural undertow throughout, culminating in the extraordinary Act 2, a frivolous, La Traviata-style society scene breaking down into Purgatorial hysterics; or the sparse, haunting suspense of Act 3. Schreker continually brings his melodic and tonal language to the brink of febrile collapse; if, like Strauss, he pulls back, the threat/promise gives the listener palpitations.
This recording is a little boxy, and the singing often sounds distant, but this somehow adds to the delicious unease of this singular opera.
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