Notes & Reviews:
Sir Colin Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and chorus and a stellar cast of soloists in a concert performance of Weber's eerily fantastical opera, Der Freischütz. Der Freischütz is heralded as one of the cornerstones of Romantic opera, drawing on traditional German folk tunes and elements of Romanticism for the first time in the history of opera. The evocative and colorful orchestration is particularly impressive in the "Wolf 's Glen" scene - long considered the most gruesomely expressive rendering of evil ever found in a musical score. Many listeners may be familiar with this opera without even knowing it; several of the melodies have been adapted as hymn tunes and the overture is regularly performed as a stand-alone work in the concert hall.
Viewing Weber as one of Wagner's major precursors, Davis presents the opera on the grandest of scales, with big orchestral forces, and a pair of established Wagnerian leads in Simon O'Neill's Max and Christine Brewer's Agathe.
The Times, 10th May 2013
The love [Davis] felt toward Der Freischntz can be felt in almost every bar...there is nothing galumphing here, and the LSO make themselves happily rustic whenever the music swings that way...The vocal cast? Always decent, sometimes compelling.
Sunday Times, 12th May 2013
Over the decades, Davis's tempi have become more measured, but the Wolf's Glen scene still has spook factor aplenty...Chorus and orchestra are the stars here.
Financial Times, 11th May 2013
The joys of the performance lie in the way the acoustical demands of the work have been met.
The Observer, 11th May 2013
Davis, as ever, balances unrushed tempi with moments of raw excitement and aural extravagance.
BBC Music Magazine, August 2013
This is a sincere reading of the work, but sincerity should not be confused with a lack of sophistication. The orchestral textures are pristine, the tempos and colours bracing and plaintive, with faultless work from clarinettist Chris Richards.
Opera, August 2013
Davis plays scrupulous attention to Weber's orchestral subtleties, which he cherishes as lovingly as a good Berliozian should... Christine Brewer floats a lovely tone in 'Leise, leise' and especially 'Und ob die Wolke'. There is no dialogue, but some fine orchestral playing... with Davis drawing a memorably brooding atmosphere from all his players.
Gramophone Magazine, August 2013
If Davis's handling of the score lacks the dramatic punch of the Kleibers' readings, there are some fine things here - his phrasing of the score's many lyrical moments, the playing of the orchestra and the careful and exciting casting. Simon O'Neill is virtually perfect for Max, not too nber-Heldentenor and not too light.
MusicWeb International, 30th August 2013
Brewer is an Agathe of exceptional beauty and poise. Sally Matthews' lovely -nnchen is so riveting that she could just as well have been singing Agathe. Simon O'Neill's Max is neither too Wagnerian nor too Mozartean...this last opera recording by Sir Colin Davis is worth acquiring for all admirers of this uniquely enticing conductor. A worthy memorial.
Recording information: Barbican, London (04/19/2012/04/21/2012).
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Works DetailsWeber, Carl Maria von : Der Freischütz, J 277
- Conductor: Colin Davis
- Ensemble: London Symphony Chorus
- Notes: Barbican, London (04/19/2012/04/21/2012)
- Running Time: 119 min. 14 sec.
- Period Time: Classical
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1817-1821