Krása: Verlobung im Traum; Symphony

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COMPOSERS: Krása
LABELS: Decca Entartete Musik
WORKS: Verlobung im Traum; Symphony
PERFORMER: Juanita Lascarro, Jane Henschel, Brigitte Balleys, Charlotte Hellekant, Albert Dohmen; Ernst Senff Chorus Women’s Voices, Deutsches SO Berlin/Lothar Zagrosek, Vladimir Ashkenazy
CATALOGUE NO: 455 587-2
As the latest release in the consistently exciting Entartete Musik series, Hans Krása’s Verlobung im Traum (Betrothal in a Dream) is a real discovery. This vivid performance and no less vivid recording reveal yet another aspect of the cosmopolitan culture of pre-war Prague, where the work was premiered at the German Theatre in 1933; Krása, best remembered for his concentration-camp children’s opera Brundibár, seems to have been influenced by Dvorák, Strauss, Weill, Schoenberg and the Parisian composers of his day, but his style is all his own. With horrible topicality, the plot, drawn from Dostoyevsky, deals with the crushing of an individual by bigger, outside forces. The work, a comedy within a tragedy, might present some problems on stage – the object of the heroine’s affections never appears – but Lothar Zagrosek finds real theatricality within it. His cast is first-rate, led by Juanita Lascarro in bright, glowing voice as Zina, while Jane Henschel as the fearsome mother and Albert Dohmen as the doddery Prince are both strong. An equally fine performance, under Vladimir Ashkenazy, of Krása’s short Symphony, full of ravishingly beautiful and bitingly ironic music, adds more to our knowledge of this fascinating figure. John Allison

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