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Schumann: Scenes From Goethes Faust / Wit, Hossa, Libor, Lubanska, Kirch

Schumann,Robert / Wpc / Wpo / Libor / Hossa / Wit
Release Date: 02/22/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572430-31  
Composer:  Robert Schumann
Performer:  Ewa MarciniecIwona HossaAndrew GangestadDaniel Kirch,   ... 
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic OrchestraWarsaw Philharmonic ChorusWarsaw Boys' Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Schumann worked on his Scenes from Faust for some nine years, from 1847 until just before his attempted suicide. It contains some of his finest dramatic music, especially the large continuous scenes in Part 2, and because the orchestra spends most of its time accompanying the singers, the problem of his thick and monochrome late scoring doesn't ruin the enjoyment. Indeed, there are some lovely instrumental touches throughout the work: the eerie flutes and piccolo at the start of Part 2's Midnight scene (shades of Mendelssohn, only spookier); the stabbing, syncopated horn rhythms in Faust's death scene; and the delicate writing for harp in Part 3 at "Höchste Herrscherin der Welt". The
Read more work has not lacked for champions, including Benjamin Britten and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, but this new performance is as fine as any yet recorded.

Antoni Wit has at his disposal an excellent chorus and a very fine orchestra. He unclogs Schumann's textures by having timpani play with hard sticks and by encouraging the brass to play with a characterful, unblended sonority. Trumpets, horns, and trombones retain their special timbre, especially in pianissimo, while the woodwinds color the string parts that they so often merely double. Wit's tempos flow with unforced naturalness and real excitement where called for. The concluding Chorus Mysticus (Wit chooses Schumann's original version) really takes off at its "Lebhaft" second half.

Best of all, Wit has an outstanding lineup of soloists. Christiane Libor sings Gretchen (later Una Poenitentium and Not) with a really beautiful, steady tone. Her Church scene, with Andrew Gangestad's suave Mephistopheles, is gripping. Jaakko Kortekangas makes an excellent Faust/Doctor Marianus. Faust's death is deeply moving, and in Part 3 he gets the lines that Mahler later assigned to a tenor, and it works just as well (better in this context, of course). He's a pleasure to listen to.

The Naxos engineers capture the whole production in sonics of great warmth, clarity, and naturalness. It may be that Schumann's Faust will never regain its 19th century popularity, but it contains some wonderful music, and this version will be hard to beat. [2/21/2011]

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Scenes from Goethe's Faust by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Ewa Marciniec (Mezzo Soprano), Iwona Hossa (Soprano), Andrew Gangestad (Bass),
Daniel Kirch (Tenor), Anna Lubanska (Alto), Jaakko Kortekangas (Baritone),
Christiane Libor (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra,  Warsaw Philharmonic Chorus,  Warsaw Boys' Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844-1853; Germany 

Sound Samples

Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Ouverture
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part I: I. Szene im Garten (Faust, Gretchen, Mephistopheles, Marthe)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part I: II. Gretchen vor dem Bild der Mater Dolorosa (Gretchen)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part I: III. Szene im Dom (Boser Geist, Gretchen, Choir)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part II: IV. Sonnenaufgang (Ariel, Choir, Faust)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part II: V. Mitternacht (Mangel, Schuld, Sorge, Not, Faust)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part II: VI. Fausts Tod (Mephistopheles, Lemuren, Faust, Choir)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part III: VII. Fausts Verklarung: Waldung, sie schwankt heran (Choir)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part III: VII. Fausts Verklarung: Ewiger Wonnebrand (Pater Ecstaticus)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part III: VII. Fausts Verklarung: Wie Felsenabgrund mir zu Fussen (Pater Profundus, Pater Seraphicus, Selige Knaben)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part III: VII. Fausts Verklarung: Gerettet ist das edle Glied (Engel, Selige Knaben, Choir)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part III: VII. Fausts Verklarung: Hier ist die Aussicht frei (Doctor Marianus)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part III: VII. Fausts Verklarung: Dir, der Unberuhrbaren (Doctor Marianus, Choir, Busserinnen, Magna Peccatrix, Mulier Samaritana, Maria Aegyptiaca, Una Poenitentium, Selige Knaben, Gretchen, Mater Gloriosa)
Scenen aus Goethes Faust, WoO 3: Part III: VII. Fausts Verklarung: Alles Vergangliche ist nur ein Gleichnis (Chorus Mysticus)

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