Hans Werner Henze: Aristaeus; Orpheus behind the Wire by Marek Janowski | 4010228668025 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Hans Werner Henze: Aristaeus; Orpheus behind the Wire

Hans Werner Henze: Aristaeus; Orpheus behind the Wire

by Marek Janowski
     
 
The story of Orpheus and Eurydice, the archetype of the experience of loss, is the inspiration for the two pieces on this CD. The story has intrigued Henze throughout his life and has been the subject of more than half a dozen works, including two ballets, orchestral music, and chamber music. "Orpheus behind the Wire" is a 1983 English setting

Overview

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice, the archetype of the experience of loss, is the inspiration for the two pieces on this CD. The story has intrigued Henze throughout his life and has been the subject of more than half a dozen works, including two ballets, orchestral music, and chamber music. "Orpheus behind the Wire" is a 1983 English setting for 12-part a cappella chorus of five poems by Edward Bond, one of Henze's preferred collaborators. Bond, who shares Henze's leftist political perspective, links the lovers to a modern police state in some of the poems, but the profound insights of the fourth, "It was Changed," are both universal and intimate. Henze sets all the poems as laments, so the set is consistently slow, and the textures tend to be harmonically dense, though a tonal center is almost always audible, and he is not afraid of using consonance. As a result of the density and extensive use of melisma, the texts are often hard to discern; it's easier and more fruitful to read the texts in advance and listen to the settings as choral evocations of the essence of the poetry than to try to follow the texts while listening. Heard this way, the settings are deeply expressive, capturing the sadness of the lovers' dilemma. The composer wrote the text for "Aristaeus," "Musical drama for speaking voice (baritone) and orchestra." Aristaeus was inadvertently responsible for Eurydice's death; she was fleeing his lecherous advances when she stumbled into the woods and was fatally bitten by a viper. Henze alters the story to make it even more profoundly tragic, because Eurydice's second death might have been avoided; she dies on the verge of her escape from Hades not because of Orpheus' weakness, but only because of Aristaeus' distracting intervention, causing the fateful backward glance. The story is told dispassionately and without remorse in the first person by Aristaeus, who was twice Eurydice's killer, and conveys the moral ambiguity that characterizes much of Henze's best dramatic work. This score, which was derived in part from his 1978 ballet "Orpheus," contains some of the composer's most colorful and accessible music, direct in its emotional impact, a brilliant demonstration of Henze's mastery of writing music for dramas. The music, transparent and sensuous, is never merely illustrative -- it summons up and triggers submerged emotions, profoundly illuminating the characters and the depth of their losses.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/12/2006
Label:
Wergo Germany
UPC:
4010228668025
catalogNumber:
6680

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Orpheus Behind the Wire, for chorus  - Hans Werner Henze  - Hans Werner Henze  - Hans Werner Henze  - Edward Bond  - Edward Bond  - Robin Gritton  -  Rundfunkchor Berlin  - Lindsay Chalmers-Gerbracht  - Ingeborg Bachmann
  2. Aristaeus, for voice & orchestra  - Hans Werner Henze  - Hans Werner Henze  - Hans Werner Henze  - Hans Werner Henze  -  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Edward Bond  - Marek Janowski  - Lindsay Chalmers-Gerbracht  - Ingeborg Bachmann  - Martin Wuttke

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