Notes and Editorial Reviews
The text of Gurre-Lieder combines the Danish legend of Waldemar and Tove, involving the illicit love of a powerful monarch for a beautiful girl, with that of the ‘Wild Hunt’, a popular myth of an army of the dead who would ride through the air on stormy nights.
Gurre-Lieder was composed swiftly, though across more than a decade, in 1900–03 and 1910–11. The première took place at the Grosser Musikvereinssaal, Vienna, under the direction of Franz Schreker on 23 February 1913: it was a triumph of a kind the composer was never to see again.
New York Times review of a live performance concurrent with this recording:
For his farewell gesture, after 13 years as
music director of the New York Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta could have chosen few works more appropriate than "Gurrelieder," the grandly scaled work that he conducted on Thursday evening.
Mr. Mehta knows the work well and appreciates its potential impact, having led performances with the Philharmonic eight years ago. He conducted it authoritatively on this occasion, too, putting much emphasis on the luxuriant scoring of the interludes and the quasi-operatic excitement of its choral and solo vocal parts.
Gary Lakes sang Waldemar's punishing music with apt Wagnerian weight and heldentenor durability. Still, whether in the throes of love, singing to his doomed Tove, or galloping through eternity with his legion of ghostly vassals, this Waldemar sounded similarly anguished. Florence Quivar was, as in the past, a Wood Dove of haunting tone, sensitive to the poetic power of a single word or phrase. By far the night's most gratifying moment came when Hans Hotter rose to declaim the Speaker's rustic scene, "The Wild Hunt of the Summer Wind." Mr. Hotter, his generation's greatest Wotan and most gripping "Winterreise" proponent, shocked the performance into life with an infinitely shaded reading.
The New York Choral Artists made a resounding contribution to the evening, though driven to excited extremes by Mr. Mehta in the cataclysmic Judgment-Day episode when Waldemar's retainers sink into their graves. The mixed-chorus finale, following immediately after Mr. Hotter's dramatic tour de force, might have been an anticlimax, but under Mr. Mehta's hands it gave off a glow that redeemed the evening and sent the audience into paroxysms of appreciation.
– Donal Henahan Read less
Works on This Recording
Gurrelieder by Arnold Schoenberg
Florence Quivar (Mezzo Soprano),
Eva Martón (Soprano),
Hans Hotter (Spoken Vocals),
Jon Garrison (Tenor),
John Cheek (Bass),
Gary Lakes (Tenor)
New York Choral Artists,
New York Philharmonic
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1900-1911; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 05/1991
Venue: Live Avery Fisher Hall, New York City
Length: 107 Minutes 0 Secs.
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