Site review by Castor June 12, 2006
Performance: Sonics (MC):
|In recent years the orchestral music of Alexander Zemlinsky has been more widely disseminated, thanks to the persuasive advocacy of a number of distinguished conductors, in particular Riccardo Chailly, James Conlon and Michael Gielen. Christoph Eschenbach now joins these thanks to this quite magnificent performance and recording of the Lyric Symphony.
The work is a 50-minute symphonic cycle of seven songs set to texts of the Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) linked by orchestral interludes. Although its construction seems outwardly similar to Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, the two works are quite different in both mood and sound world.
Eschenbach is fortunate to have two distinguished soloists, both possessing very beautiful and individual voices, whose extensive experience in the field of lieder pays handsome dividends in bringing out the full meaning and nuances of the texts, which are delivered here with absolute clarity.
The power of Goerne’s dark virile baritone is perfectly suited to the passion of I ‘Ich bin friedlos’ and V ‘Befrei mich von den Banden deine Süsse Lieb!’ while in III ‘Du bist die Abenwolke he is tender and caressing.
The purity and unforced quality of Christine Schäfer’s bright voice makes the central love song IV ‘Sprich zu mir Geliebter’ a ravishing experience and her other two songs are also both sung exquisitely.
The pellucid recording does sensibly balance the voices in the foreground in this heavily scored piece, but at no time is the myriad of orchestral detail that is to be heard in this wonderful score obscured.
There is no doubt that Eschenbach has the full measure of this work (no annoying eccentricities) and has obtained absolutely superb playing from L’Orchestre de Paris, while the wide dynamic range of Capriccio’s recording captures the sumptuous sounds to perfection. The surround channels are used discreetly, but help to recreate the spacious ambience of the Maison ONDIF in Paris where the recording was made.
Full texts and translations are provided in the booklet in addition to Matthias Corvin’s informative background notes.
Altogether an outstanding SACD!
Copyright © 2006 Graham Williams and SA-CD.net