Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nikolaus Harnoncourt brings a fresh view to everything he conducts. Now he has rethought the first great German Romantic opera, going back to the autograph score for the original dynamic markings and aiming to rediscover the work’s theatrical and dramatic truths. The result is both invigorating and enlightening. Harnoncourt’s choice to have a light-voiced tenor as Max, in order to convey the dreamer in the character rather than the hero, is entirely vindicated by Endrik Wottrich’s vibrant performance – superbly contrasted with the wonderfully sonorous Kaspar of Matti Salminen. Elsewhere, Orgonasova and Schäfer acquit themselves with distinction – the former’s ‘Leise, leise’, taken more slowly than usual, is exquisite – and the choral
singing is superb.
Given the live concert source of Harnoncourt’s recording, it is not as overtly theatrical as its main modern competitor, the studio-bound Kleiber (DG), the difference being most notable in the Wolf’s Glen scene, where the latter is able to bring special effects and reverberation into play. The playing of the Berlin Philharmonic is easily the equal of Kleiber’s Dresdeners, though, and the Teldec sound is more natural, complete with ear-piercing gunshots.
Performance: 5 (out of 5); Sound: 5 (out of 5)
-- Matthew Rye, BBC Music Magazine
Works on This Recording
Der Freischütz, J 277 by Carl Maria von Weber
Matti Salminen (Bass),
Ekkehard Schall (Spoken Vocals),
Gilles Cachemaille (Bass),
Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone),
Luba Orgonasova (Soprano),
Christine Schäfer (Soprano),
Endrik Wottrich (Tenor),
Kurt Moll (Bass)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,
Berlin Radio Chorus
Written: 1817-1821; Dresden, Germany
Length: 134 Minutes 10 Secs.
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