Notes and Editorial Reviews
Gustav Kuhn is aware of the eloquence of the scoring throughout the work and responds with great immediacy to nuance, making the listener aware of Schumann's exotic touches of color.
Schumann, at 33, put his whole heart and soul into Das Parodies und die Peri, his first venture—and what a bravely unconventional one—into the world of oratorio... Whereas Gerd Albrecht's overall timing, with a Czech team for Supraphon/Koch International, was 90 minutes and Armin Jordan's for Erato/Warner Classics, with the Swiss was 96, Gustav Kuhn, with his Germans, allows himself 99. There is no resulting loss of excitement in more rousing contexts, like the battle music in the Peri's first Indian search for "the gift most dear to
heaven". But always Kuhn tries to squeeze just that much more out of the score's more personal heart-tugs, like the choral lament for the slain hero, "Weh, weh" (No. 8) towards the end of the first part. He is also aware of the eloquence of Schumann's scoring throughout the work, and responds with great immediacy to every dot, slur, dash and dynamic gradation in his phrasing. Listen, for instance, how "Verlassener Jüngling" (No. 15) emerges here not as a mezzo-soprano solo but an uncommonly expressive duet for singer and cello. You are also made very much aware of the more exotic touches of colour, like the piccolo in the battle music and the triangle in the choruses of the Genii of the Nile and the Houris in Parts 2 and 3.
The penalty to be paid is a far too forwardly balanced orchestra, sometimes at the expense of the generally pleasing soloists—not forgetting the American baritone, Alan Titus, so mellifluous in his Part 3 solo, "Jetzt sank" (No. 21) yet completely engulfed in orchestral wind as the repentant sinner (at the end of No. 24) whose tears eventually win the Pen her long-sought return to Paradise. From Sharon Sweet in the title-role there is the occasional operatic squall under pressure (as in No. 11) but infinitely more genuine warmth of tone and feeling when under control. Eberhard Bnchner, as the tenor narrator, just occasionally hits his notes in excitement, but is vibrant and vivid, and I enjoyed his female storytelling counterpart, Marga Schiml as the Angel, so free of traditional alto over-fruitiness and wobble.
-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [1/1992]
reviewing the original release of this recording, Eurodisc 69105
Works on This Recording
Das Paradies und die Peri, Op. 50 by Robert Schumann
Michael Schopper (Bass),
Marilyn Schmiege (Mezzo Soprano),
Sharon Sweet (Soprano),
Faridah Subrata (Mezzo Soprano),
Walter Planté (Tenor),
Eberhard Büchner (Tenor),
Alan Titus (Baritone),
Marga Schimi (Alto),
Julie Kaufmann (Soprano)
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,
Bamberg Symphony Chorus
Written: 1843; Germany
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