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Schreker: Die Gezeichneten / Robert Hale / Michael Volle / Kent Nagano / Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestra [DVD]

Album Summary

>Schreker, Franz : Die Gezeichneten
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was at the height of his creative powers when he wrote both the music and libretto for Die Gezeichneten. As the album notes points out, the title might best be translated as "those who are marked out, or branded, by fate." Written when German Expressionism was in full bloom, it's a bizarre tale that's pretty far out even by today's standards, because it includes (at least in this production) such sexually charged subjects as transvestism and child abuse. In fact the last act takes place on an island of earthly delights which may call to mind those tales of debauchery supposedly perpetrated by Tiberius at his palace on the isle of Capri. But rather than going into any more details about the plot, suffice it to say you'll have to see (and hear) it to believe it. In the last analysis though, it's the music that reigns supreme and makes the case for this being the composer's crowning achievement. Like many pieces written towards the very end of the romantic era, it requires a huge orchestra, which Shrecker handles with consummate skill. In many respects it represents one of the last dying gasps of romanticism with all the brilliance and finality of a supernova. The composer's use of chromaticism is so extreme that at times the music almost sounds atonal, but every now and then he creates meltingly beautiful harmonically complex modulations that'll make your hair stand on end. This release, which was taped at the Salzburger Festspiele last year, has deservedly gotten rave reviews on all counts. The singing is superb with English, French, German or Spanish subtitles an option. The choral and orchestral accompaniment couldn't be better and would seem to indicate that conductor Kent Nagano must have a great fondness for this score. The sets, costumes and lighting create an Expressionist atmosphere of almost terrifying proportions, and must be some of the most imaginative yet to appear in a DVD opera. In spite of the fact that this was a live performance, the sound is demonstration quality and offered in PCM(2), Dolby(5.1) or DTS(5.1). The latter format will knock your sox off and all audiophiles should take note. By the way, the audience is very well behaved and must have been just as transfixed by this production as you'll be. It's just too bad that Schreker, whose music was branded as "Entartete" ("Degenerate") by the Nazis, isn't around to see this glorious vindication of it!" -Classical Lost and Found

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 142 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9 anamorphic, Color
Sound Format(s): DD 5.1 Surround, LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, German, French, English
Country of Origin: USA



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Works Details

>Schreker, Franz : Die Gezeichneten
  • Performers: Michael Volle (Baritone); Anne Schwanewilms (Soprano); Wolfgang Schone (Bass); Robert Hale (Bass); Robert Brubaker (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Kent Nagano
  • Ensemble: Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1913-1915
  • Studio/Live: Live