Ťhough several of Franz Schreker’s nine completed operas were hugely fashionable in his lifetime, 如今，没有人在剧目中有固定的位置. 其中最著名的是第二个组成, Der Ferne Klang, whose first performance in 1912 established Schreker alongside Strauss and Schoenberg as one of the leading modernists of his generation. It still gets sporadic stagings, and the new recording – the fourth currently available – is taken from a 2019 production in the city where it was premiered, Frankfurt.
Schreker wrote his own libretto for Der Ferne Klang; it’s the story of an aspiring composer, Fritz, who sacrifices his personal happiness and that of his lover Grete in his lifelong search for the “distant sound” of the opera’s title that he hears within himself. Its mix of eroticism and fairytale magic, combined with a musical style that manages to be both ripely romantic and chromatically expressionist in a score crammed with iridescent orchestral textures, provided the template for the success of several of Schreker’s later operas.
None of the existing recordings of Der Ferne Klang is entirely satisfactory, and this newcomer is not an unqualified success either. In a couple of respects, 尽管, it does rate very highly. The conductor Sebastian Weigle makes sure that the beauty of the lusciously detailed scoring emerges very powerfully from the Frankfurt Opera orchestra, providing a perfect cushion for the voices, which the soprano Jennifer Holloway certainly takes full advantage of, warm-toned and wonderfully secure as she traces the downward spiral of Grete’s life. The smaller roles are well taken, 也, although the tenor Ian Koziara is rather underpowered as Fritz, never really dominating proceedings as he should. In an opera that depends crucially on the dramatic chemistry between the two protagonists, that’s a serious shortcoming.
Schreker’s first success as a composer, 他的 1908 ballet-pantomime Der Geburtstag der Infantin (The Birthday of the Infanta), based on Oscar Wilde’s novella, is included on Vasily Petrenko的 final recording as chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. On the Onyx disc it’s alongside Alexander Zemlinsky’s luscious tone poem after Hans Christian Andersen, Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid), which remains a rarity in the concert hall, but which now is very well represented on disc. The RLPO’s performances of both works perhaps do lack the last degree of tonal finesse that these scores ideally deserve, but the pairing is a bold, imaginative one, which ought to win more admirers for two composers whose music has never quite made it into the orchestral mainstream.