Notes and Editorial Reviews
Eiji Oue, cond; Heidi Elisabeth Meier (sop); Jean-Sébastien Stengel (ten); Stefan Adam (bar); Hanover Women’s Ch & Boys’ Ch; NDR RPO
RONDEAU 6030 (60:58)
This is a very enjoyable presentation of the popular work, but I had to figure out the performing forces. The Knabenchor, founded by Heinz Hennig and now directed by Jörg Breiding, is made up of men and boys, while the Mädchenchor is made up of young women. It sounds as if the main chorus is sung by the men and young women, leaving the boys to sing the
parts. As such, the choral sound is typical of the best competing versions, and the three soloists are all excellent, with no falsetto from either of the men. At times the choral enunciation is less precise than most choruses achieve, especially in central Europe. Oue’s tempos are straightforward, with none of the vagaries that sometimes mar the work for me.
While the booklet carries no texts, the notes by Ralph Philipp Ziegler are unusually interesting. The information is not new, but the whole story from the 1803 confiscation of the manuscript, the 1847 publication of an edition of the songs, and the 1904 reprint that Carl Orff discovered in 1934, moving him to begin composition immediately, is told in a readable account. We also learn that the NDR Radio Philharmonic is about as old as the more familiar (on records) NDR Symphony Orchestra, but under Eije Oue since 1998 it has won new distinction. (The last Schwann Artist Issue listed some recordings under several conductors, but none under its previous permanent conductors, Steiner, Klee, Macal, or Ceccato.) This has to be added to the short list of recommended recordings of the work.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber