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Alexander Zemlinsky: The Chalk Circle, opera / Renate Behle, Gabriele Schreckenbach, Roland Hermann, Siegfried Lorenz. Berlin RSO, Soltesz

Album Summary

>Zemlinsky, Alexander v. : Der Kreidekreis, opera
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The old Chinese drama of courtroom and customs was usable only as raw material. In its original version it is a fairly dull, wooden affair, handled extremely clumsily from the dramatic point of view. It is in effect inventing a Chinese fairy-tale. No strict Chinoiserie: it had to be as if in a dream of China. Klabund (1925) Two years after the death of Klabund, Zemlinsky decided to use his Chalk circle as the basis for an opera. He recast the five-act 'play after the Chinese' first into a two-act, later into a three-act version, and composed his Chalk circle in 1931/32. This blend of a fairy-tale Utopia, social criticism and inwardness makes itself felt in Zemlinsky's music, which seeks to combine varied stylistic components: Chinese coloration appears in the orchestral scoring, which is enriched with gongs and other exotic-sounding instruments: the melody often avoids semitonal steps and so takes on a pentatonic character. It was the seventh and also his last completed opera, from which the then 61-year-old Zemlinsky hoped for the definitive breakthrough as an operatic dramatist.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
Der Kreiderkreis is an effective piece of theater and music. The performances in Zemlinsky's lifetime did well. The speaking parts are well characterized. The orchestra is excellent, and Stefan Soltesz is a very effective conductor. The music of Der Kreiderkreis is strong enough to carry itself.

BBC Music Magazine, February 2014
Zemlinsky's penultimate opera is surprisingly austere. Strong performances, but the lack of text and translations is disappointing as there's much spoken dialogue.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem (02/12/1990-02/16/1990).


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Works Details

>Zemlinsky, Alexander v. : Der Kreidekreis, opera
  • Performers: Celina Lindsley (Soprano); Uwe Peters (Voice)
  • Conductor: Stefan Soltesz
  • Ensemble: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem (02/12/1990-02/16/1990)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1930-1932