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.
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.
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