Henze: Der junge Lord

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Henze
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Der junge Lord
PERFORMER: Barry McDaniel, Loren Driscoll, Vera Little, Manfred Röhrl, Patricia Johnson, Edith Mathis, Bella Jasper, Donald GrobeDeutsche Oper Berlin Chorus & Orchestra, Schöneberg Boys’ Choir/Christoph von Dohnányi
CATALOGUE NO: 445 248-2 ADD Reissue
Hans Werner Henze’s dark comedy The Young Lord, to a well-crafted libretto by his one-time partner Ingeborg Bachmann, was given its premiere in Berlin in 1965 and has since received numerous stagings. This 1967 recording captures the original cast in good though dryish sound.

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The arrival of the mysterious Sir Edgar and his strange retinue in a provincial German town produces curiosity among local society that turns to resentment when the aristocrat cold-shoulders the town’s leading figures. He executes a poetically apt yet disturbing revenge… Henze sets this discomfiting satire in neo-classical style, following the precepts of opera buffa in a manner similar to Stravinsky in The Rake’s Progress. His music shows a mastery of means, and a neat combination of lyricism and sharpness, but slides intermittently into anonymity.

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The performance is precisely controlled by Christoph von Dohnányi. Donald Grobe deploys a fresh lyric tenor as Wilhelm, a young man of sensibility, and Edith Mathis is eminently sweet-toned as Luise, the object of his affections. Patricia Johnson is effective as Baroness Grünwiesel, the snobbish and spiteful social arbiter of Hülsdorf-Gotha, while Barry McDaniel combines the sinister side of Sir Edgar’s secretary with an appropriately de haut en bas manner. George Hall