Schumann: Das Paradies und Die Peri

Schumann: Das Paradies und Die Peri

by Carlo Maria Giulini
     
 

Both Robert and Clara Schumann considered "Das Paradies und die Peri," written when he was 33, his most important work, so it's perhaps surprising that it's so rarely performed or recorded, until one considers the fate of similar Romantic secular oratorio and oratorio-like works (large-scale narratives for soloists, chorus, and…  See more details below

Overview

Both Robert and Clara Schumann considered "Das Paradies und die Peri," written when he was 33, his most important work, so it's perhaps surprising that it's so rarely performed or recorded, until one considers the fate of similar Romantic secular oratorio and oratorio-like works (large-scale narratives for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, not intended to be staged) in modern times. Part of the neglect can be attributed to public taste and the cultural perseverance of certain musical institutions. The opera house has flourished; if an audience is going to sit for an evening's narrative musical entertainment, it at least requires scenic action. On the other hand, the number and cultural significance of amateur choral societies has declined precipitously. Those who remain are more likely to perform recitals of short pieces than large scale works; it's often church-based organizations with the resources and inclination to present larger pieces and their focus is on religious works, such as "Elijah" and Brahms' "German Requiem," and secular oratorios are generally limited to rare appearances at orchestral concerts. "Das Paradies und die Peri" has much to commend it: a simple and emotionally engaging story that naturally divides into three parts of about a half hour each; a skillful deployment of the soloists, chorus, and orchestra; and richly expressive music. Schumann's extraordinary gift for memorably lyrical text-setting is evident throughout. If the composer had framed the piece as an opera and made the adjustments necessary for theatrical presentation, it would be easy to imagine it having a place in the repertoire. This performance, a live recording in Rome dating from 1974, has its strengths, but fails to make a consistently compelling case for the piece. Carlo Maria Giulini, leading the RAI Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Rome, has a vision for the work's sweep and the intimacy of its details. Margaret Price as the Peri sings with warmth and expressiveness and a lustrous tone, and Werner Hollweg's tenor is strong and resonant. The remaining soloists are serviceable, with performances that are technically proficient, but that lack tonal distinction. The sound quality lacks depth and is occasionally shrill and distorted in the louder passages, and the tape hiss and ambient noises are prominent enough to be distracting.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/17/2007
Label:
Arts Music
UPC:
0600554307626
catalogNumber:
43076
Rank:
343176

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Das Paradies und die Peri (Paradise and the Peri), for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 50  - Robert Schumann  - Thomas Moore  - Robert Schumann  - Carlo Maria Giulini  - Wolfgang Brendel  -  RAI Chorus, Rome  - Robert Amis el Hage  - Carlo Gaifa  - Werner Hollweg  - Anne Howells  - Gianni Lazzari  - Olivera Miljakovic  - Margaret Price  -  RAI Symphony Orchestra, Rome  - Emil Fleschig  - Marjorie Wright

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