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Carl Orff: Der Mond; Die Kluge
     

Carl Orff: Der Mond; Die Kluge

by Wolfgang Sawallisch
 

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The chamber operas "Der Mond" and "Die Kluge" are about as close as Carl Orff got to writing traditional opera, but they are still pretty quirky, musically and dramatically. They were written in the late '30s and early '40s, just after the success of "Carmina Burana," and they resemble that work in their musical style: flashy, colorful orchestration, lyrical vocal

Overview

The chamber operas "Der Mond" and "Die Kluge" are about as close as Carl Orff got to writing traditional opera, but they are still pretty quirky, musically and dramatically. They were written in the late '30s and early '40s, just after the success of "Carmina Burana," and they resemble that work in their musical style: flashy, colorful orchestration, lyrical vocal lines, lots of ostinatos, and propulsive, driving rhythms. Both are taken from stories by the Brothers Grimm, and the composer wrote the librettos. The plot of "Der Mond" is outrageously silly, and Orff's musical treatment is genuinely funny, which is quite an accomplishment, especially when one tries to assemble a list of 20th century operas that can actually make an audience laugh. The music is no more profound than the plot, but it is sweetly genial, brilliantly clever, and dramatically apt. It's an ensemble opera and there are no big solo parts, but bass Hans Hotter and tenor Rudolf Christ excel in their relatively important, but still modest, roles. The smaller roles are also beautifully done, and the vocal ensemble is remarkable, due in no small part to the leadership of Wolfgang Sawallisch, who conducts the Philharmonia Chorus and Children's Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra. "Die Kluge" is somewhat more conventionally structured, with principals who have real arias and plenty of opportunities to shine vocally, and bass-baritone Gottlob Frick, tenor Marcel Cordes, and soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf do just that, singing with gorgeous tone and memorably vivid characterizations. The entire cast, down to the smallest roles, is outstanding in bringing the characters to life. Here, too, Sawallisch draws passionate playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra. Orff has the instincts of a composer born to write for the stage, and these are operas that deserve broader exposure. It would be hard to imagine a better place to start than these superlative recordings, made by EMI in 1956 and 1957. Produced by Walter Legge, the sound is fabulous and there are terrifically effective sound effects.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/23/2010
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
5099968763824
catalogNumber:
87638

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Die Kluge, opera
  2. Der Mond, opera

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