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Schnittke: Historia Von D. Johann Fausten (2 CD, APE)

Schnittke: Historia Von D. Johann Fausten (2 CD, APE)
Schnittke: Historia Von D. Johann Fausten (2 CD, APE)

Performer: Jürgen Freier, Eberhard Lorenz, Arno Raunig, Hanna Schwarz, Eberhard Büchner
Orchestra: Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Gerd Albrecht
Composer: Alfred Schnittke
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: RCA
Size: 360 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Seid Nuchtern und Wachet (Faust Cantata), for soloists, chorus & orchestra
Composed by Alfred Schnittke
Performed by Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra
with Hanna Schwarz, Andrej Schnittke, Jurgen Freier
Conducted by Gerd Albrecht

Disc: 1
01. Prolog
02. Act One: Von Doctor Fausten Geburt Und Studien
03. Act One: Wie Faustus Den Teufel Beschworen
04. Act One: Eine Disputation Fausti Mit Dem Geist
05. Act One: Weitere Disputation Mit Mephostophiles
06. Act One: Doctor Fausti Hollische Verschreibung
07. Act One: Ein Reim Wider Fausti Verstockung
08. Act Two, Part One: Von Der Dienstbarkeit Des Mephostophiles
09. Act Two, Part One: Doctor Faustus Will Sich Verheiraten
10. Act Two, Part One: Wie Faustus In Die Holl Gefahren
11. Act Two, Part One: Wie Faustus Ins Gestirn Hinaufgefahren
12. Act Two, Part One: Vom Paradeis

Disc: 2
01. Act Two, Part Two: Fausti Weheklag I
02. Act Two, Part Two: Spottische Scherzreden Der Teuflischen Geister
03. Act Two, Part Two: Fausti Weheklag II
04. Act Two, Part Two: Wie Faustus Soll Bekehrt Werden
05. Act Two, Part Two: Doctor Fausti Zweite Verschreibung
06. Act Two, Part Two: Fausti Weheklag III
07. Act Two, Part Two: Erscheinung Der Schonen Helena
08. Act Three: Wie Das Vierundzwanzigste Jahr Vorbei
09. Act Three: Rede Fausti Zu Seinen Studenten
10. Act Three: Gebet Und Falscher Trost Fur Faustum
11. Act Three: Fausti Grasslicher Tod Und Begrabnis
12. Act Three: Lehre Der Ganzen Warhaften Historia
13. Act Three: Epilog

Work in progress

I agree with the first reviewer that this recording is one of a work in progress. It has the merit to exist but leaves us perplexed and certainly wanting more.

I did not find Gerd Albrecht an unforgettable conductor nor that the Hamburg Opera offered here a world class performance. I can only imagine what a conductor such as Eri Klas, whose Peer Gynt recording brings everything from the masterpiece, would have brought to this.

As the Third Act is the well known 1983 “Faust Cantata” and thus a completed work, one can and should compare with the recording on BIS by Leif Segerstam and appreciate what has been lost here: even if one accepts the idea of a leaner orchestration -which the opera doesn’t call for-, the blame must fall on Albrecht shoulders since the music is played quite heavily, its climaxes quite brushed over and the shear emotional intensity simply lacking.

Yet, Schnittke enthusiasts will appreciate some brilliant moments during the first two acts -in particular the duet between the two mephistos- and will want to own this recording as a document.

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