Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Voices of Our Time - Anne Sofie von Otter / Korngold Recital Chatelet Opera|
Actors: Bengt Forsberg, Kjell Lysell, Mats Lidstrom
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A Fascinating Korngold Program: Songs and Chamber Music
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is one of the growing series of important song recital releases from the Théâtre du Châtelet - Paris that have been coming out recently. Already we have programs by singers like Dawn Upshaw, Thomas Hampson, Barbara Bonney, Sylvia McNair, Felicity Lott, Ian Bostridge and Grace Bumbry, all of them simply marvelous, models of their kind. This one is slightly different in that it is not confined to just (!) Anne Sofie von Otter singing songs. She is joined by some distinguished fellow Swedes in an all-Korngold program that features her singing ten songs (including 'Mariettas Lied' from Korngold's opera 'Die tote Stadt') as well as three movements (III-V) from his Suite for Two Violins, Cello and Piano Left Hand, Op. 23 and the second and third movements of his Piano Quintet, Op. 15. (My favorite is 'Lied,' the fourth of the Suite movements; yessir, that Korngold could sure write a luscious melody!) The musicians include pianist Bengt Forsberg, violinists Ulf Forsberg and Nils-Erik Sparf, violist Tobias Ringborg, and cellist Mats Lidström, superb musicians all. The program is arranged so that there are instrumental movements interspersed among the songs, making for a variety of interest. Also providing interest are the brief interviews (in English) with von Otter and Bengt Forsberg before each group in the program.
Von Otter first sings four 'Songs to Words by William Shakespeare,' Op. 31 (sung to the English texts): Desdemona's Song; Under the Greenwood Tree; Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind; and When Birds Do Sing. The first song, of course, is from 'Otello, the last three for a Max Reinhardt production of 'As You Like It' (amusingly referred to as 'Wie es euch gefällt' in the extensive and helpful booklet notes that were otherwise translated expertly from their original German). I particularly liked 'When Birds Do Sing,' charmingly sung with the appropriate amount of hey-nonny-nonny by Miss von Otter. Her accompanist here, as in all the piano-accompanied songs, is Bengt Forsberg.
Amazon has not listed the rest of the songs, so I shall do so. They are 'Mond, so gehst du wieder auf,' Op. 14, No. 3; 'Liebesbriefchen,' Op. 9, No. 4; 'Was Du mir bist,' Op. 22, No. 1; 'In meine innige Nacht,' Op. 18, No. 1, 'Sommer,' Op. 9, No. 6. The program closes with the quartet accompanying von Otter in the dreamy, ecstatic 'Glück, das mir verdieb' ('Mariettas Lied'). I just watched it again, and again I got goosebumps.
No question about it, von Otter is one of our reigning queens of the opera and recital stage. She is in top form here. This is another quintessential release in this series. I can't recommend it too highly. The music is in Korngold's juiciest romantic style and the performances are magnificent.
DVD 9 format, NTSC. Subtitles in English, Spanish, French and Italian. Stereo, Digital 5.0 or DTS sound. Recorded live in 2000.
An outstanding release.
Plaza Marcelino | Caracas Venezuela | 07/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I proposed when commenting for this website Arthausmusik's dvd release of this composer's opera "Die Tote Stadt" with Opéra du Rhin forces, Korngold remains a puzzle. With strong influences yet to be fully assimilated (Richard Strauss not being far behind, I noted in the case of the opera in question) but with significant fame behind him and a wunderkind aura, he migrated to the US where he somewhat shelved his "serious composer" career and turned to cinematic music (I don't mean to demerit the genre, mind you, but save for a handful of works, once he settled in the US he devoted himself to composing music for Hollywood flics only). What would have become of him and his "serious" career had he not crossed the Atlantic fleeing from the nazi régime is anybody's guess; that he was immensely talented is beyond doubt and he might well have given his contemporaries a challenge or two.
Now we come to this hugely enjoyable disc, caught live at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris, mixing vocal and chamber works in a programme dedicated exclusively to Korngold's music. The chamber works will suggest (at least to me) another not fully assimilated influence to this often achingly beautiful music, mind you, that of Ravel. I confess I had not heard any chamber music by Korngold before and was rather surprised to establish a link to the french composer from an austrian young genius. But never mind, vocal or chamber music, and in spite of the influences mentioned, Korngold speaks with a voice of his own and I firmly believe Hollywood robbed us of a major composer that still had a long way to go and a lot to say.
Von Otter's contribution is outstanding, presenting a selection of lieder and the better known aria from "Die Tote Stadt" in a reduction for chamber ensemble of the orchestral part. That she shines and acquits herself with top honours is beyond doubt, not just singing the songs but also suffusing them with a profound level of feeling and meaning, in spite of cautious applause that reveals the audiences's lack of familiarity with the repertoire presented them. She remains on stage during the chamber music portions as a de luxe page turner for pianist Forsberg and when the evening is over, the parisians present do shake off their prudence and give string players, pianist and singer the thundering ovation they deserved.
TDK have resorted to insert spoken comments by Von Otter and Forsberg that will prove very useful to place into context those listeners unfamiliar with the works and documentation is good. Yet, a caveat: the chamber works are not presented complete in this DVD release, only two movements from the Quintet and two from the Suite; both works are presented complete in the DG 2-CD audio-only release of apparently the same recital. Why DG could give us the complete chamber music portion of the programme and TDK couldn't (or chose not to) is beyond me."
Sarah Olivia | United States | 04/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I absolutely love Anne Sofie von Otter's rich mezzo-soprano voice. Before purchasing this DVD, I wasn't familiar with Korngold's music--now I'm a full-blown fan. Despite the fact that Korngold was born under the influence of Schoenberg (serial/twelve-tone music), Korngold wasn't about to "renounce the eminent expressive possiblities of the 'old music,'" (to quote the maestro himself). The music featured on this DVD is expressive and lyrical--romanticism at its best.
"Mond, so gehst du weider auf" is as good as it gets. The Piano Quintet in E Major Op. 15 uses material from the song cycle (Farewell Songs) that includes "Mond, so gehst du weider auf." This music was composed to honor people who had died in WWI. Bengt Forsberg, the accompanist and project collaborator, said that this is music he would like at his own funeral. And guess how old Korngold was when he composed this masterpiece? Twenty-three--Korngold's extreme youth didn't compromise the maturity and deeply felt emotion of this music. On this disc, we hear the 2nd movement, the adagio, from the Piano Quintet. (I almost always love adagios (or andantes) because they are usually so emotional, with a tender rendering of thematic material.)
It's been awhile since I've taken music history and music theory courses---but this DVD (with its extensive liner notes) has renewed my interest in music history and theory. These TDK discs have musical performances interspersed with interviews from the singers and accompanists. I have several DVDs from this series, including Sylvia McNair, Thomas Hampson, Barbara Bonney, and Felicity Lott. They are all wonderful, with a similar format (performances mixed with interviews). (The ones I don't have are on my Amazon wishlist!)"