Impressive Schreker from Falletta

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

JoAnn Falletta turns in another fine recording of less than familiar repertoire. Prelude to a Drama, an expanded version of the overture to the opera Die Gezeichneten, has received many recordings to date, but none as cogent and exciting as this one. Falletta encourages her players to cut through the composer’s dreamy, impressionist timbral fog in pursuit of the main melodic thread, with powerful results. Yes, the music remains rather shapeless, but it’s so beautiful from moment to moment that in a smart performance we don’t care, and this is a very smart performance.

The suite from the pantomime The Birthday of the Infanta is also full of color and character, rising to a surprisingly powerful and affecting climax in its last couple of sections. Dating from 1923, this is vintage Schreker: lush, decadent, but not lacking in rhythmic backbone. The early Romantic Suite, on the other hand, reveals the composer’s basically conservative roots, even as it aspires to something richer and more daring. Both works receive performances as impressive as that of the Prelude to a Drama–that is, as good or better as any in the catalog, and the engineering is excellent. Try this. You won’t be sorry.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: None

    Prelude to a Drama; Suite from The Birthday of the Infanta; Romantic Suite

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