Goldschmidt: Der gewaltige Hahnrei; Mediterranean Songs

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COMPOSERS: Goldschmidt
WORKS: Der gewaltige Hahnrei; Mediterranean Songs
PERFORMER: Roberta Alexander, Robert Wörle, Michael Kraus, Claudio Otelli, Helen Lawrence; John Mark AinsleyBerlin Radio Choir, Deutsches SO Berlin (RSO); Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Lothar Zagrosek
Berthold Goldschmidt’s name is known today by comparatively few. But if this recording gets the wide circulation that it undoubtedly deserves, that could all change. Decca’s invaluable new series ‘Entartete Musik’ (Degenerate Music) is specifically concerned with bringing back to life ‘important works lost, destroyed or banned by the political disruptions of the 20th century, most conspicuously the music suppressed by the Third Reich’. Der gewaltige Hahnrei (The Magnificent Cuckold), completed in 1930, was rapturously received at its first performance in Mannheim in 1932 and immediately scheduled for a further production under Carl Ebert the following year in Berlin. But neither Goldschmidt nor Ebert were to remain in Germany. Both were removed, Ebert for political reasons and Goldschmidt because of his race. Goldschmidt’s career was shattered by the Nazis and only now, with the composer in his 92nd year and living in London (he emigrated to England in 1935), does it seem probable that his stature will once again be recognised. Stylistically his music occupies territory neighbouring Berg and Weill, although the richness and tenderness of Goldschmidt’s love music is in a class all of its own. Roberta Alexander, Robert Wörle, Michael Kraus and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Lothar Zagrosek are persuasive advocates for these works. This is a captivating recording that must herald a fully-staged production. Annette Morreau