A faultless labour of love
Ian C. Punter | Thailand | 09/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There have been audio recordings of this beautiful work in the past, notably Benjamin Britten's on Decca, with Fischer-Dieskau. I confess I knew neither soloists nor conductor when ordering this DVD, but love the piece so unashamedly that the DVD had 'to be tried'.
The performance takes place in the beautiful but relatively small Amandus church, and as a result has a slightly 'chamber' feeling to it, which I must stress is entirely apt in a 'Faust' that is mainly gentle, lyrical and feminine. Musically there is little or no 'Damnation', no blazing rides to the abyss, such as we experience in Berlioz's thrilling work. The gentle ending invites applause of a genuine rather than 'kneejerk' kind. Comparisons with other 'Faust' works are both pointless and invidious, particularly when there are Liszt, Gounod, Wagner, and no doubt many others to consider. Those who know Schumann's other choral works like 'Der Rose Pilgerfahrt' and 'Das Paradies und die Peri' would recognise the idiom and would anyway probably have come to the latter works via his 'Scenes from Faust'.
It's a lovely performance from all the protagonists, - the soloists all excellent, and the face of the conductor, Frieder Bernius, shows that this is a real 'labour of love'. Good pictures, good sound, no quibbles, highly recommended, and paramount for any 'performance' DVD, one to return to again and again with pleasures anew each time."