Notes and Editorial Reviews
Salvatore Sciarrino, cond; Daisy Lumini (voc); Gruppo Strumentale Musica d’Oggi
STRADIVARIUS 57006 (44:34
Text and Translation)
This is about as far from Wagner’s version of the Lohengrin myth as one can get. There is only one vocalist, whose task is to take on the roles of both Elsa and Lohengrin. According to the composer in his accompanying booklet note, “Lohengrin is . . . a cosmogony, entirely vocal. Elsa, Elsa’s mouth, is its point of irradiation, but
we are in the center.” Moreover, he says, this is music portraying invisible action, evoking the space within Elsa. All is seen through “the crazed eyes of Elsa,” who is “sick with unreality.” This is “a monstrous landscape of the soul, theatrically self-sufficient in itself.”
As so often with Sciarrino, the music is mostly whispered, very quiet, or verging on the inaudible. Here it is possibly at its most effective (and most elusive) in the three-minute “Canto del cigno,” a movement characterized by glacial strings and disembodied voices, but throughout there is almost an effect of fossilized horror about it all. In the present scenario, there is an imagined conjugal night for Lohengrin and Elsa, but it is spoiled by Lohengrin’s aversion to physical intimacy. Later, Elsa imagines Lohengrin approaching, again on a swan. But all apparent contradictions become clear in the work’s Epilog, in which Elsa is revealed, brutally, to be a patient in an asylum.
This is a mesmeric score. Daisy Lumini is staggeringly good as the vocal protagonist. She is seemingly entirely at home with the line’s fragmentary nature, while the composer’s own direction lends the whole a certain gravitas. The final vocal evocation of bells by the voice against the slow piling-up of a chord is stunningly effective, as is its sudden curtailment. Text is provided in the original Italian and in French and English translation.
Although this appears to be the only available hard-copy recording of Sciarrino’s
, it is worth noting that a radio performance by Marianne Pousseur and the Schoenberg Ensemble under Rienbert de Leeuw is available for download from a number of current download sites. As to the present disc, do not let the low playing time put you off. This is an important piece.
FANFARE: Colin Clarke
Works on This Recording
Lohengrin by Salvatore Sciarrino
Daisy Lumini (Voice)
Gruppo Strumentale Musica D'oggi
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1982; Italy
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs.
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