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Entartete Musik - Zemlinsky: A Florentine Tragedy; A. Mahler


Release Date: 11/11/1997 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 455112   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alexander von ZemlinskyAlma Mahler
Performer:  Albert DohmenHeinz KruseIris Vermillion
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Zemlinsky’s Florentine Tragedy is a disturbing, shocking piece, but to make its fullest impact it also needs to sound ravishingly beautiful. As the wealthy merchant Simone shows Count Bardi (his wife’s lover, as he already suspects) a robe of silver damask so exquisitely wrought with roses “that they lack perfume only to cheat the wanton sense” or, later, describes to him another of Venetian cut velvet patterned with pomegranates each seed of which is a pearl, we should almost be able to see these marvels. Zemlinsky’s sumptuous scoring at these points urgently needs, in short, an orchestra of the Royal Concertgebouw’s stature, and in this reading they sound quite magnificent. But the score also needs a conductor of subtlety and shrewdness Read more to point up the fact that there are two passages of serene lyricism which are placed in high relief by all this richness. They occur in a brief scene where Simone’s wife Bianca, left alone for a moment with Count Bardi, assures him of her eternal love and, later, after Simone has murdered his rival, when husband and wife stare at each other, her passion for him awakened by his unexpected brutal strength, he awakened to her beauty by the fact of her adultery.

Vermillion is very fine at both these points, her mezzo timbre (the role is properly for soprano) adding warmth to her finely drawn line. Kruse is admirable too, fining down his ringing tenor in that duet scene, and in the most demanding role, that of Simone, Dohmen is forceful and dangerous, with bass blackness and baritone urgency both at his command. But Chailly is the real star of the performance, pacing the opera so well that it seems over in no time, drawing richly complex but never muddy textures from his remarkable orchestra.

If Zemlinsky needs the Concertgebouw, my first thought on hearing the Alma Mahler songs was that what they have been needing all these years is orchestration. The Matthews brothers’ scoring points up her kinship with Zemlinsky (her teacher) and allows her vocal lines to expand in a way that her piano versions can seem to inhibit. She might have written a fine opera, on a subject as gamey as those Zemlinsky himself sought out. But here again, exquisitely though Vermillion sings these songs, Chailly must take at least half the credit. Each song is taken faster than in most recordings with piano, and every one of them gains from it in impulsive urgency. In both Zemlinsky’s opera and Alma Mahler’s songs the recording leaves nothing to be desired: the colours are rich but beautifully clean.

-- Michael Oliver, Gramophone [12/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1. Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op. 16 by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Albert Dohmen (Baritone), Heinz Kruse (Tenor), Iris Vermillion (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Prague, Czech Republ 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 53 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: German 
2. Lieder (5): no 1, Die stille Stadt by Alma Mahler
Performer:  Iris Vermillion (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Colin and David Matthews 
3. Lieder (5): no 3, Laue Sommernacht by Alma Mahler
Performer:  Iris Vermillion (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Colin and David Matthews 
4. Lieder (4): no 1, Licht in der Nacht by Alma Mahler
Performer:  Iris Vermillion (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Colin and David Matthews 
5. Lieder (4): no 2, Waldseligkeit by Alma Mahler
Performer:  Iris Vermillion (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Colin and David Matthews 
6. Lieder (5): no 4, Bei dir is est Traut by Alma Mahler
Performer:  Iris Vermillion (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Colin and David Matthews 
7. Lieder (4): no 4, Erntelied by Alma Mahler
Performer:  Iris Vermillion (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915 
Date of Recording: 04/1996 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Colin and David Matthews 

Featured Sound Samples

A Florentine Tragedy (Zemlinsky): "Holdsel'ge Bianca"

Sound Samples

Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: Overture
Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: So langsam, Weib?
Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: Spinn ein Kleid, getaucht in Purpur
Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: Was gibt es Neues, mein Prinz?
Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: Wie er gleich schalen Krämer spricht!
Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: Was ist das?
Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: Holdsel'ge Bianca
Eine florentinische Tragödie, Op.16: Simone, jetzt muss ich nach Hause gehen
Die stille Stadt
Laue Sommernacht
Licht in der Nacht
Waldseligkeit
Bei dir ist es traut
Erntelied

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