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Dirk Kaftan - Der ferne Klang

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Der ferne Klang

Franz Schreker (1878-1934)

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Franz Schreker's opera Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound) was a huge success at its 1912 premiere in Frankfurt and it established Schreker as one of the foremost opera composers of his time, but with the rise of the Third Reich his works fell out of favor and, like those of Korngold (which they resemble in many ways) never quite found their way back into the standard repertoire. Recordings like this one, taken from a live 2010 performance at the Augsburg Theater, ought to bring this piece to the attention of the broad audience it deserves. After a lovely prelude, the first scenes of the opera get it off to something of a slow start, but by the time the composer hits his stride toward the end of the first act, the music never lets up in its inspired, rhapsodic outpouring. The story is somewhat implausible, which may be part of the reason the opera has failed to catch on: a composer forsakes the love of a good woman and spends his life in the consuming pursuit of an elusive sound. At the end of their long, ruined lives, he and his lover are reconciled and he dies in her arms, but before he can compose the masterpiece that he can finally envision. Schreker acknowledged the autobiographical aspect of the story, and it's easy to hear in the depths of his probing score a composer's passionate striving for musical transcendence. There are numerous moments that are simply magical in their luminous orchestration and evocative harmonies -- most of the opera, in fact -- from the last scenes of the first act to the crushing finale. In the second act, set in a Venetian bordello, Schreker depicts the psychological complexity of the scene with stunning musical inventiveness, layering the orchestral textures and harmonies with contrasting on-stage ensembles. Philharmonisches Orchester Augsburg, under the insightful, energetic leadership of Dirk Kaftan, plays with a gorgeous, radiant tone and with supple, idiomatic lyricism. The solo roles, from the leads to the smallest parts are taken by first-rate singers, although none are familiar on the international scene. As the composer Fritz, tenor Mathias Schulz sings with warmth and passion, and while he could not quite be characterized as a Heldentenor, he has a ringing tone and he soars lyrically through Schreker's demanding lines. Soprano Sally du Randt is terrific as Grete, his beloved. It's a grueling role -- she's onstage and the center of attention for virtually all of the first two acts and much of the third -- but du Randt handles it with apparent ease. She makes very credible transitions vocally and dramatically from a simple peasant girl to a worldly courtesan to a common street-walker, and never sounds less than fabulous. She performs with the charisma and self-possession of a real star and is definitely a singer to watch out for. The sound of the hybrid SACD is excellent for a live recording, with good balance, a warm, detailed ambience, and minimal ancillary noise. Highly recommended for fans of post-Romantic opera.
© TiVo

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Der ferne Klang

Dirk Kaftan

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1
Act I: Einleitung (Introduction)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:04:15

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

2
Act I Scene 1: Steht aussen an dem seitwarts gelegenen (Fritz, Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:04:58

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

3
Act I Scene 1: Als Du trat'st in mein armes Leben (Grete, Fritz)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:05:01

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

4
Act I Scene 2: Frau Mama zu Hause, mein reizendes Kind? (Die Alte, Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:02:21

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

5
Act I Scene 3: Was weinst dem? (Mutter, Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:01:49

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

6
Act I Scene 4: Nur herein, meiner Herren - nur herein! (Vater Graumann, Wirt, All)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:07:57

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

7
Act I Scene 5: Frauelein - sollten sich's uberlegen (Wirt, Mutter, Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:04:09

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

8
Act I Scene 6: Ich kann nicht (Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:02:24

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

9
Act I Scene 7: Fritz find' ich nicht mehr (Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:08:48

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

10
Act I Scene 8: Liegt ein schones Kindchen in Moos! (Die Alte, Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:05:14

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

11
Act II: Prelude - Wenn der Abend kommt (Chorus)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:03:58

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

12
Act II Scene 1: Heiah — a — h — ! (Girls on the beach) - Scene 2: Meine Liebste ist eine Sprode (Mary, Mizi) - Scene 3: Die Damen striten, wie ich hor (A Spanish, Mizi, Mary, Milli)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:01:27

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

13
Act II Scene 4: Nun, wer wird denn da wieder verlastert? (Graf, Baron, Mary, Milli, Mizi, A Spanish, Manner, Greta, Women's Voices)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:12:38

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

14
Act II Scene 6: So hort (Graf, Baron, Chevalier)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:05:00

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

DISC 2

1
Act II Scene 6: Erlauben die Damen (Chevalier, Chorus, Rufe, Madchen, Baron, Greta, Young Men)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:05:34

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

2
Act II Scene 7: Wir schlafen surr (Madchen, Manner, Greta, Graf)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:03:55

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

3
Act II Scene 8: Hier - ? So viel Menschen - ein Fest - Musik (Fritz, Greta)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:07:57

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

4
Act II Scene 8: Da seh ich ein herrliches Weih! (Fritz, Greta, Manner, Graf, Madchen, A Spanish)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:08:00

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

5
Act II Scene 9: Ist der Liebste fern (Chorus, Greta, Graf)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:02:52

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

6
Act III Scene 1: Du sitzt nun wieder im Trock'nen - was? (Dr. Vigelius, Schauspieler, Kellnerin)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:03:10

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

7
Act III Scene 2: Das Theater schon aus? (Kellnerin, First Chorist, Vigelius, Schauspieler)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:01:39

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

8
Act III Scene 3: So, da setzen Sie sich (Polizist, Grete) - Scene 4: Wie heisst denn das stuck? (Dr. Vigelius, Chorist, Grete, Kellnerin) - Scene 5: A da schau her (Individual, Schuspieler, All)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:06:38

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

9
Act III Scene 8: Die Baume rauschen ein wundersam Lied (Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:09:47

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

10
Act III Scene 9: Wie seltsam das it! (Fritz)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:03:41

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

11
Act III Scene 10: Fa - mit einer Botschaft (Rudolf, Fritz)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:12:36

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

12
Act III Scene 15: Hast Du mir verziehn? (Fritz, Grete)
Gerhard Werlitz
00:08:22

Seung-hyun Kim, vocals - Mathias Schulz, tenor - Markus Hauser, bass - Gerhard Werlitz, tenor - Stephanie Hampl, alto - Sally du Randt, soprano - Jan Friedrich Eggers, vocals - Stephen Owen, bass-baritone - Wilhelmine Busch, vocals - Isabel Blechschmidt, vocals - Theresia Maria Jakob, vocals - Maria Bader, vocals - Roman Payer, tenor - Andre Wolkner, vocals - Kerstin Drescher, vocals - Seung-Gi Jung, bass-baritone - Jasmin Horner, vocals - Orchestre du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Choeur du Theatre d'Augsbourg - Dirk Kaftan, Conductor

Album Description

Franz Schreker's opera Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound) was a huge success at its 1912 premiere in Frankfurt and it established Schreker as one of the foremost opera composers of his time, but with the rise of the Third Reich his works fell out of favor and, like those of Korngold (which they resemble in many ways) never quite found their way back into the standard repertoire. Recordings like this one, taken from a live 2010 performance at the Augsburg Theater, ought to bring this piece to the attention of the broad audience it deserves. After a lovely prelude, the first scenes of the opera get it off to something of a slow start, but by the time the composer hits his stride toward the end of the first act, the music never lets up in its inspired, rhapsodic outpouring. The story is somewhat implausible, which may be part of the reason the opera has failed to catch on: a composer forsakes the love of a good woman and spends his life in the consuming pursuit of an elusive sound. At the end of their long, ruined lives, he and his lover are reconciled and he dies in her arms, but before he can compose the masterpiece that he can finally envision. Schreker acknowledged the autobiographical aspect of the story, and it's easy to hear in the depths of his probing score a composer's passionate striving for musical transcendence. There are numerous moments that are simply magical in their luminous orchestration and evocative harmonies -- most of the opera, in fact -- from the last scenes of the first act to the crushing finale. In the second act, set in a Venetian bordello, Schreker depicts the psychological complexity of the scene with stunning musical inventiveness, layering the orchestral textures and harmonies with contrasting on-stage ensembles. Philharmonisches Orchester Augsburg, under the insightful, energetic leadership of Dirk Kaftan, plays with a gorgeous, radiant tone and with supple, idiomatic lyricism. The solo roles, from the leads to the smallest parts are taken by first-rate singers, although none are familiar on the international scene. As the composer Fritz, tenor Mathias Schulz sings with warmth and passion, and while he could not quite be characterized as a Heldentenor, he has a ringing tone and he soars lyrically through Schreker's demanding lines. Soprano Sally du Randt is terrific as Grete, his beloved. It's a grueling role -- she's onstage and the center of attention for virtually all of the first two acts and much of the third -- but du Randt handles it with apparent ease. She makes very credible transitions vocally and dramatically from a simple peasant girl to a worldly courtesan to a common street-walker, and never sounds less than fabulous. She performs with the charisma and self-possession of a real star and is definitely a singer to watch out for. The sound of the hybrid SACD is excellent for a live recording, with good balance, a warm, detailed ambience, and minimal ancillary noise. Highly recommended for fans of post-Romantic opera.
© TiVo

Details of original recording : DDD - Enregistré en 2010

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