Swiss conductor Christoph-Mathias Mueller has won unusual critical acclaim for his partnership with Germany's Göttinger Symphonie Orchester (Göttingen Symphony Orchestra). He has also been active as a guest conductor in orchestral music and opera, including in Russia, typically not so hospitable to Western conductors. Mueller was born on February 26, 1967, in Chiclayo, Peru, but was raised in Switzerland. His first studies were on violin in Basel, Switzerland, and he completed a full course of violin training. He switched to conducting, enrolling in the master's program in music at the University of Cincinnati, and his commitment deepened when he won a place as Conducting Fellow at the famed Tanglewood summer festival in Massachusetts, studying with Seiji Ozawa, Leon Fleisher, and Robert Spano. After a stint as assistant to Vladimir Ashkenazy at the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin, he found his course confirmed when he won the International Conducting Competition in Cadaqués, Spain in 2000. The following year, he served as assistant conductor to Claudio Abbado with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, following Abbado to the Lucerne Festival Orchestra from 2003 to 2005. He also served as music director of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra during this period. In 2005 Mueller was named principal conductor of Germany's Göttinger Symphonie Orchester (Göttingen Symphony Orchestra), adding the title of general music director to his résumé in 2007. Mueller has championed contemporary music, conducting premieres of works by such composers as Rudolf Kelterborn, Isabel Mundry, Gérard Zinsstag, and Uljas Pulkkis. At the other end of the chronological spectrum, he and the orchestra have joined with the historical-performance group Concerto Köln and soprano Simone Kermes for an album of bel canto operatic selections. Mueller has also championed the music of little-known Soviet composer Alexander Weprik, leading to several engagements in Russia including several at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow; these included new productions of Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus and Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Mueller has also conducted operatic performances of works by Verdi, Mozart, and Haydn in Göttingen. He has made guest conducting appearances with the SWR Sinfonieorchester in Germany, the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland, the Czech Philharmonic, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as well. Mueller has recorded for the Sony Classical, NMC, Cedille, MDG, Pan Classics, Paladino, and Naxos labels; a 2018 release on the latter label of music by Wolfgang Rihm, featuring violinist Tianwa Yang and the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, brought the conductor his second ECHO Klassik award, the most prestigious classical recording award of the German recording industry.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Full Operas - Released June 24, 2016 | Pan Classics
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. Le diable dans le beffroi is almost entirely Orledge's work, and he seems to have diverged substantially from what Debussy planned (he has solo voices where Debussy apparently intended a choral work). This puts the whole project here firmly in the speculative realm, especially inasmuch as the operas seem to have been planned as a kind of pair, with Le diable dans le beffroi as the comic counterpart to the familiar moody tale of the House of Usher. But the music, especially in the Usher work (the patchwork of parody and quotation Orledge puts together for Le diable makes the question of whether it's Debussyan less relevant), sounds like Debussy, and although the graphics credit only the Göttinger Symphonie Orchester under Christoph-Matias Mueller, there are some fine solo singers here, most of all William Dazeley as Roderick Usher. Sample the climactic final tracks of this opera for the effect. Those interested in how Debussy saw Poe, as manifested in his adaptations, will be pleased to find complete texts in English, French, and German in the booklet (Debussy worked from Baudelaire's translations). Recommended for Debussy buffs. © TiVo
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