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Enna; Zemlinsky: Seejungfrau / Dausgaard, Et Al


Release Date: 06/20/2006 
Label:  Dacapo   Catalog #: 8226048   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Auguste EnnaAlexander von Zemlinsky
Performer:  Inger Dam-JensenYlva Kihlberg
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony OrchestraDanish National Radio ChoirDanish National Children's Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

August Enna (1860–1939) was a Danish composer who wrote many operas and operettas. This one, The Little Match Girl (“Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne”), based on Hans Christian Anderson’s Christmas tale, was written in 1897. The New Grove notes: “While his music is not especially profound, it derives inspiration from Wagner and Verdi, as well as from the Danish Romantic tradition. His sensitivity to theatrical nuance, his effective orchestration, and his easy melodic gift earned him considerable success.” I would amend that to “watered-down” Wagner and Verdi. There is little drama here, musical or otherwise; one tune early in the overture comes right out of Die Meistersinger. The music is pleasant enough, but it is less stirring, less Read more memorable than Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. The booklet states that Enna’s music makes “knowing use of the national song treasury,” of which I am more than usually ignorant. At 1:10 of track 10, however, a brief orchestral flourish is followed by a blazingly beautiful melody, which leads to a dramatic, thoroughly Tchaikovskian finale on track 11; Enna has finally found his model. A brief choral epilogue closes this 35-minute opera.

There are only two solo voices, a lyric and a dramatic soprano, plus a chorus. Inger Dam-Jensen, a young Danish soprano who has already sung Blondchen, Pamina, Norina, Rosina, Sophie, Zdenka, Ophelia, Gilda, and Handel’s Cleopatra on the world’s opera stages, slides easily through the undemanding role of Marie, the little match girl. Her voice is lovely and her enunciation is so clear that I am able to follow the text in Danish, a language unknown to me (English and German translations appear on separate pages). Ylva Kihlberg, as an unnamed lady singing to a child in her lap, has one brief aria; her voice is not dark enough to be easily distinguished from Dam-Jensen. Chorus and orchestra do their jobs well, each rising effectively to the occasional climax. The reverberant 2005 recording from the Danish Radio Concert Hall is sweet and pleasant. Enna’s opera is at best a curiosity, but it may be meaningful to a Danish audience.

Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau shares its literary origins with Enna’s opera, being based on another well-known Anderson tale, The Little Mermaid. The score, lost until 1984, has received many recordings and has proven to be the masterpiece of Zemlinsky’s generally superb œuvre. A 40-minute tone poem in three sections, its music fills the gap between Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Although this performance does not attain the dramatic heights of those recorded by Riccardo Chailly, James Conlon, and Antony Beaumont, it has a winning warmth and is completely satisfying. Dausgaard obviously knows the piece well, having recorded it about a decade ago with the Danish National Radio Orchestra for Chandos. I don’t know if this is the same ensemble or not, but I much prefer this performance. The 2005 live recording is colorful and deep, if slightly over-reverberant. A Danish audience wanting The Little Match Girl will also be well served by the Zemlinsky and by this disc. So will any opera-lover looking for a few minutes of thrills.

FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

1.
The Little Match Girl: Prelude by Auguste Enna
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
Notes: Audio Producer: Preben Iwan. 
2.
The Little Match Girl: Oh what thronging, and what noises! by Auguste Enna
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Choir,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
3.
The Little Match Girl: Buy but one box, buy but one box! by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano), Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
4.
The Little Match Girl: Oh, how I am shivering! by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano), Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
5.
The Little Match Girl: Little brow, tiny now by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano), Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
6.
The Little Match Girl: 'Tis gone, 'Tis gone, the lovely dream! by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano), Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
7.
The Little Match Girl: Hear ye, people, just as the clock struck twelve! by Auguste Enna
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Choir,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
8.
The Little Match Girl: Oh take me with you! I pray! I pray! by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano), Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
9.
The Little Match Girl: Come and see what's on this Christmas tree! by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Choir,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Children's Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
10.
The Little Match Girl: The many lights, they're all gone out by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano), Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Children's Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
11.
The Little Match Girl: What did I then? by Auguste Enna
Performer:  Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano), Ylva Kihlberg (Soprano)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
12.
The Little Match Girl: The Christ-child in the manger lay by Auguste Enna
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Choir,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Denmark 
Date of Recording: 04/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
13.
Die Seejungfrau: Sehr massig bewegt by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1903; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 14 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
14.
Die Seejungfrau: Sehr bewegt, rauschend by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1903; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 12 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: Danish 
15.
Die Seejungfrau: Seht gedehnt, mit schmerzvollem Ausdruck by Alexander von Zemlinsky
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1903; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/2005 
Venue:  Live  Danish Radio Concert Hall 
Length: 13 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: Danish 

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