FRANZ SCHREKER: Orchestral Music from the Operas – Royal Swedish Orch./ Lawrence Renes – BIS

by | Nov 19, 2016 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

The unfortunately almost forgotten composer Franz Schreker emphasized operas but these instrumental works from them show off his great musical art.

FRANZ SCHREKER: Orchestral Music from the Operas [TrackList Follows] – Royal Swedish Orch./ Lawrence Renes – BIS multichannel SACD -2212, 68:30 (10/14/16) [Distr. by Naxos] *****:

Franz Schreker was thought to be one of the most eminent composers for the sumptuous sonorities of his operas at his time, early in the 20th century. Schoenberg even called him one of the foremost. However, from the 1930s on, his music was in almost complete oblivion, partly due to the Nazis and his father being of Jewish descent. (This in spite of his operas being greatly influenced by Wagner.) He was also out of step with all avant music developments during the 1920s.

Schreker usually wrote the librettos for his own operas, which often had symbolist and erotic subjects. More then other opera composers, the orchestral sections of his operas are often of greater importance when heard in concert. Schreker often intended the instrumental sections for independent concert use, showing off his musical wizardry. He often set his operas in medieval times, and the closing track: Nachtstück (Nocturne) was, in a slightly different form, an interlude between the first and second scenes of his The Distant Sound, and was premiered before the complete opera. He said it attempts to depict the psychological moods and struggles of a sleepless night.

Lawrence Renes has been the music director and conductor of the Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra since 2012, and it is the second oldest orchestra of its kind in the world. He conducts all over the world and has also conducted Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute at the Santa Fe Opera. Their previous BIS SACD was an “Orchestral Adventure” using music from Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Fine hi-res two-channel and surround from this 96/24 original.

01 Symphonisches Zwischenspiel from Der Schatzgräber (The        Treasure Hunter) 13’25
02 Vorspiel from Die Gezeichneten (The Stigmatized) 9’24
03 Vorspiel from Das Spielwerk (The Music Box) 6’4
04 Vorspiel zu einer großen Oper (Prelude to a Large Opera) 22’02
05 Nachtstück from Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound) 15’19

—John Sunier

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