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Askin: Eisenhans! / Zelinka, Mairinger, Dlouhy, Et Al


Release Date: 06/10/2008 
Label:  Col Legno   Catalog #: 20802   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ali N. Askin
Performer:  Stephanie HackerDiana Kiendel-SamarowskiTheresa DlouhyAndreas Janowitsch,   ... 
Conductor:  Ali N. Askin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

German composer Ali N. Askin (born 1962) has had a genre-spanning career -- being Frank Zappa's assistant, collaborating with Heiner Goebbels and other leaders in new music, and extensive work in television and theater -- and the eclecticism of his background is reflected in his music. The score for "Eisenhans!" (Iron John), his chamber opera for children based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, is child-friendly and lighthearted. It is mostly tonal, with strong folk, pop, jazz, and rock elements in its songs, with a little of Stravinsky's "L'histoire du soldat" to add spice. A quartet of violin, keyboards, percussion, and string bass provides the witty accompaniment. The music is sometimes simplistic, but always Read more skillfully put together, and it's frequently clever enough to appeal to adults. The libretto, by Helga Utz, a director of Vienna's Taschenoper, which premiered the opera, sticks pretty closely to the Brothers Grimm, although its tone is lighter, and the feminine presence is more pronounced than in the original. A narrator plays a large part in moving the story along, with musical interjections by the characters, and the whole enterprise feels more like a musical than an opera. The singers perform with vivid characterization and high energy; bass Wilfried Zelinka as Eisenhans and mezzo-soprano Ulla Pilz are especially effective. The sound is nicely balanced, but a little close and loud, with a made-in-a-studio-in-front-of-microphones ambience. The target audience is evidently German-speaking children; the opera is sung in German and the booklet includes the libretto in German, but with no translation.

-- Stephen Eddins, All music Guide
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Works on This Recording

1.
Eisenhans! by Ali N. Askin
Performer:  Stephanie Hacker (Piano), Diana Kiendel-Samarowski (Violin), Theresa Dlouhy (Alto),
Andreas Janowitsch (Voice), Margit Schoberleitner (Drums), Martin Mairinger (Voice),
Wilfried Zelinka (Bass)
Conductor:  Ali N. Askin
Written: 2007; Germany 
Notes: : Branko Samarovsky. 

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