Composer: Franz Liszt
Performer: Joyce El-Khoury – soprano, Airam Hernández – tenor, Oleksandr Pushniak – bass-baritone
Orchestra: Weimar Staatskapelle
Conductor: Kirill Karabits
Number of Discs: 1 CD
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Bit Depth: 24bit / 96kHz
Number of channels: 2.0
Size: 1.41 GB
Scan: yes (PDF)
Weimar Staatskapelle, Kirill Karabits / Liszt – Sardanapalo & Mazeppa
01. Mazeppa, symphonic poem No. 6, S100 15:32
02. – 19. Sardanapalo, S687 / R670 (reconstructed and orchestrated by D. Trippett) 51:17
Recorded: 17-20 August 2018
Recording Venue: Congress Centrum Neue Weimarhalle, Germany
Contrary heroes: Symphonic poem Mazeppa and the opera fragment Sardanapalo performed by Karabits and the Weimar Staatskapelle. Sardanapalo who prefers wine and concubines to politics and warfare, and Mazeppa, who dies with glory, having endured pain and humiliation: dramatic literary models, impressively set to music by Franz Liszt. Written at the same time, these works represent Liszt’s ideas striving to unite literature and music, on the one hand modernising Italian opera and on the other advancing towards the symphonic poem in his orchestral writing.
The Sardanapalo manuscript comprises the first act. For 170 years the material lay dormant in the Goethe and Schiller archive in Weimar: it was only in 2017 that David Trippett deciphered, edited and orchestrated the manuscript at the University of Cambridge. Kirill Karabits conducts the Weimar Staatskapelle: Liszt’s orchestra in the city in which he composed the opera. audite continues its series of the great Weimar Kapellmeister-composers.
It is indeed extraordinary… Liszt’s fluid treatment of bel canto structures reveals an assured musical dramatist at work… He makes no concessions to his singers, though, and his vocal writing is taxing in the extreme… The choral singing is consistently strong, the playing terrific, and Karabits conducts with extraordinary passion. Trippett has carefully modelled his orchestration on Liszt’s works of the early 1850s, and it sounds unquestionably authentic.
The score is a fascinating, at times disconcerting melange of Italianate and Germanic elements, with long stretches of bel canto melody punctuated by darker, proto-Wagnerian outbursts…El-Khoury does a valiant job, though there’s no disguising that Liszt wasn’t terribly accustomed to writing for the operatic voice…Sardanapalo may be ‘the claw of a lion’ rather than the entire majestic beast (to borrow a phrase from one of Wagner’s letters to Liszt), but it’s definitely worth a visit.
Liszt’s mind, as ever, seems to resemble a vast repository of all the music of the 19th century…It’s rooted in Italian tradition; and yet some of Liszt’s glittering textures seem to look half a century ahead to Richard Strauss. Then, around every corner, there is Wagner…Karabits conducts with pace and purpose, and his singers are strong if not subtle.
Torridly exciting…It is not too big a statement to say that the work’s emergence changes musical history…When El-Khoury’s volatile soprano shoots skywards, wildly dramatic, you wonder what heights were left to breach in the unwritten acts. [Hernández and Pushniak] contribute forcefully, although not as much as Karabits’s orchestra, on excellent form, weighty with piercing brass and thrusting strings.