Schumann > Szenen aus Goethes Faust

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Nikolaus Harnoncourt, honorair guest conductor
Christian Gerhaher, baritone
Christiane Iven, soprano
Alastair Miles, bass
Werner Güra, tenor
Mojca Erdmann, soprano
Birgit Remmert, alto
Elisabeth von Magnus, alto
Franz-Josef Selig, bass
Anitra Jellema, soprano
Anjolet Rotteveel, alto
Kevin Doss, tenor (choir soloists).
Netherlands Radio Choir
Nationaal Kinderkoor

In April 2008 Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra executed a series of performances of Schumann’s rarely heard masterpiece Szenen aus Goethes Faust. These successful performances were recorded live and edited into this release.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt on Schumann’s Faust-Szenen

‘When I think of Schumann, I picture him at the cafe in Dresden where he would meet Wagner and Mendelssohn every week. They were about the same age, and all three were from Saxony. Luckily for Wagner’s reputation, both the others died young; had they lived longer, simultaneously with Wagner, music history would have been very different indeed. I consider Schumann the greatest genius of the three – Wagner’s genius was not primarily musical, but theatrical. Except for Genoveva, Schumann wrote no operas. He did compose a number of half-oratorio works, including the Faust-Szenen. But it’s not an opera, and I believe it should never be staged. As far as what an oratorio actually is – whether it’s spiritual or secular – listeners should make up their own minds and not have someone else’s view forced on them.’

‘Schumann wanted to focus on one specific aspect of Faust – Verklärung (redemption or glorification) and chose the scenes he set based on that aim. And he didn’t change a single word of the text he set. Each is Goethe’s own.’

‘Schumann was definitely a pessimist. In terms of psychological approach, he’s a kind of brother to Freud. One of the things that make Faust so incredible is Schumann’s ability to select precisely those scenes from such a huge drama which illustrate that one aspect of redemption. In music, there are two or three famous sunrises – in Die Schöpfung (The Creation) and Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons) by Haydn, and in Schumann’s Faust-Szenen: Faust finds himself in a deep cavern. Day breaks, and Faust awakens to see how the sun shines upon the highest mountain tops. He himself still lies in darkness. Once the sunlight reaches him, he says, ‘So bleibe denn die Sonne mir im Rücken!’ (So let the sun remain behind me!) because his eyes cannot bear the light. I think this sunrise with its oscillating changes of colour is one of the most beautiful moments in the history of music.’

Catalogue No. RCO 09001
Barcode: 5425008376851
Format: Hybrid Multichannel 2SACD
Weight: 230 gram

€ 24,00
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