WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Schoenberg: Moses und Aron / Gatti, Grundheber, Moser

Schoenberg / Grundheber / Moser / Raimondi
Release Date: 05/29/2007 
Label:  Arthaus Musik   Catalog #: 101259  
Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Franz GrundheberIldikó RaimondiThomas MoserJanina Baechle,   ... 
Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera ChorusVienna State Opera OrchestraSlovak Philharmonic Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 50 Mins. 

Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

SCHOENBERG Moses und Aron Daniele Gatti, cond; Franz Grundheber ( Moses ); Thomas Moser ( Aron ); Slovak P Ch; Vienna St OP Ch & O ARTHAUS 101 259 (DVD: 113:00) Live: Vienna 2006

This is an elegant video of a stunning production of Moses und Aron . The Hebrews fleeing Egypt are dressed in dark suits and dresses, with Read more stylized yarmulkes for both sexes, carrying identical grey suitcases. Grundheber is a superb actor, as dramatic speaking Moses’s words as he has been singing Wozzeck’s. Although he looks a bit like Tevye at times, he is so convincing that we soon forget that his speech is limited by prescribed pitches and rhythms. It is something of a shock to see an Aron who is an even larger and heavier greybeard than Moses, but Moser, too, soon convinces. If he has difficulties with his vocal line, they are less than most Arons I’ve seen and heard. There is one miscalculation, which is basically Schoenberg’s but is emphasized by the power of Grundheber’s acting: in the first spoken/sung duet between the brothers, it is the supposedly tongue-tied Moses who communicates more successfully than the glib Aron. The lesser roles are well sung and acted, and the chorus is eminently satisfactory, both vocally and dramatically—its members are required to move constantly, in tightly choreographed maneuvers. The stage direction, by Reto Nickler, is apt and potent at all times. The golden calf scene is a visual blockbuster: everyone opens a suitcase and dons golden clothing, golden wigs. The idol itself is a giant golden “ICH,” which eventually resolves into “Ich bin Gott” (“I am God”). The orgy scene is sexually reticent (for the proper Viennese audience): a few women caress each other while watching a raunchy video on a big screen. There is violence aplenty, however, with suicide and murder for sacrifices, and the scene makes its points forcefully. The reappearance of Moses, down from the mountain, angry at God and physically as well as psychologically burdened with the tablets, is dynamite, and Grundheber rises to new heights in his excoriation of Aron. At the conclusion of act II, after the bows and credits, Grundheber reads the text of III (for which Schoenberg wrote no music), with no video other than the subtitles.

The extra is a 23-minute interview that proceeds from the stage director to the choral conductor, then to Moser and finally Grundheber (the menu directs us to each segment). The interviewees each take time to loosen up but eventually contribute much of interest. Finally, Grundheber reads the act III text again, this time on camera. For the main production, audio quality is good, in DTS 5.1, DD5.1, or PCM stereo, and the video, NTSC in 16:9 format, is excellent. Subtitles are offered in the original German or in English, French, Spanish, or Italian.

I have heard all of the commercial audio recordings of Moses und Aron , and I have seen excellent productions at both the New York City Opera and at the Metropolitan. This performance may not top them in every vocal, orchestral, or dramatic detail, but it makes the greatest impact of all. Despite the masses of people on stage, Moses und Aron is essentially an intimate opera, a battle of two minds, two sides of human character. It must be seen to be fully appreciated, and the home screen is an ideal medium. This DVD is now my primary recommendation.

FANFARE: James H. North
Picture format: NTSC 16:9 (Colour)
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu Languages: English, German, French, Spanish
Subtitle Languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
Running time: 110 mins (opera) + 24 mins (interview) Read less

Works on This Recording

Moses und Aron by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Franz Grundheber (Baritone), Ildikó Raimondi (Soprano), Thomas Moser (Tenor),
Janina Baechle (Soprano), Johann Reinprecht (Tenor), Peter Jelosits (Boy Soprano),
Morten Frank Larsen (Baritone), Georg Tichy (Baritone)
Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930-1932; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 2006 
Venue:  Vienna State Opera 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title