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Martin: 6 Monologues from "Jedermann", etc; Egk


Release Date: 06/11/2007 
Label:  Dg 20th Century Classics Catalog #: 429858   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Frank MartinWerner Egk
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-DieskauDame Janet Baker
Conductor:  Frank MartinWerner Egk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraBavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra members
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

If the celebrations marking the centenary of Frank Martin's birth last year were muted and saw no major new recording, we can at least be grateful for the reappearance of this and other reissues. In its original form coupling the two Martin works, this was for me a desert island record and much cherished.

Martin's opera comes from the early 1950s, the same period as the Violin Concerto and while he was working on the Harpsichord Concerto, to which it is incidentally related. The text used for Der Sturm is Schlegel's German translation of The Tempest, not Shakespeare's original—Martin's first language was French and he spoke only a little English. The Overture is quite magical and evokes the mysterious atmosphere of the island
Read more and the sea. He told me of his strong feeling for the sea when I interviewed him for the BBC shortly before his death in the 1970s, for it is something that comes across strongly in many of his works. If the pale, moonlit colouring of Pelleas can at times be detected in some of his earlier works, Der Sturm inhabits a wholly individual sound-world and one which puts you immediately and lastingly under its spell. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sings the two excerpts from Act 3, Prospero's aria (''My Ariel!/Hast though, which art but air,/A touch, a feeling of their afflictions...'') and the Epilogue (''Now my charms are all o'erthrown'') with his usual authority and poetic feeling, and though he is more closely balanced than I would like, that is the only reservation I have about the sound, which is first class. What we want now is a complete recording!

Martin had just finished work on his first setting of a German text, Rilke's Der Cornet, which Marjana Lipovsek recorded for Orfeo not long ago (10/88), when he was asked to write a song-cycle. He turned to another German poet, Hofmannsthal whose Jedermann (''The play of a rich man's dying'') was only a few years later than the Rilke poem. Martin chose six monologues which made independent sense outside the context of the play and produced what is one of his greatest song-cycles—and I am tempted to say one of the very greatest song-cycles of the century. Hofmannsthal's verse gives expression both to the fear of death and the doctrine of the resurrection through love. Martin himself spoke of the wonderful harmony of this dramatic poem, its deep psychological penetration and beauty of language and form, and ''the curtain lifts on the interior life of each listener, on his spirit in which the drama of life and death, and sin and forgiveness, takes place''. This classic recording has been matched by others but never surpassed and it still sounds as powerful as ever.

The makeweight, Werner Egk's The temptation of St Anthony (1945) comes from an LP that also included his ballet, Die chinesische Nachtigall (''The Chinese Nightingale''—1953) and his pre-war Geigenmusik mit Orchester. It is a setting of eighteenth-century verses for contralto, string quartet and full strings, a folksy and accessible work, not anywhere near the same quality or stature as the Martin but worth an occasional hearing, particularly given the distinction of the soloist here. For all that, I can't say I have returned to it very often, whereas I must have worn out several copies of the Martin pieces over the years. They are indispensible.

-- Robert Layton, Gramophone [10/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1. Monologe (6) aus "Jedermann" by Frank Martin
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone)
Conductor:  Frank Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 05/1963 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 20 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Frank Martin (1949) 
2. Der Sturm: Overture by Frank Martin
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone)
Conductor:  Frank Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1955; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 05/1963 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 8 Minutes 11 Secs. 
3. Der Sturm: Mein Ariel! by Frank Martin
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone)
Conductor:  Frank Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1955; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 05/1963 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 8 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: German 
4. Der Sturm: Hin sind meine Zauberei'n by Frank Martin
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone)
Conductor:  Frank Martin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1955; Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 05/1963 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: German 
5. La tentation de Saint Antoine by Werner Egk
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Werner Egk
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946/1952; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1965 
Venue:  Herkulessaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 21 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: French 

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