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LABELS: Discover
WORKS: Das Schloss
PERFORMER: Bjørn Waag, George-Emil Crasnaru, Mario Taghadossi, Christoph Homberger; BRTN PO & Men’s Chorus/Alexander Rahbari
André Laporte, president of the Belgian chapter of the International Society for Contemporary Music, was born in 1931. His setting of Kafka’s unfinished allegorical novel The Castle (to his own German-language libretto after Max Brod) was premiered in 1986. It is in three acts and eight scenes, framed and linked by an orchestral prelude, three interludes and postlude.


Less recognisably Flemish in personality than retrogressively middle European (Laporte was part of the Sixties Darmstadt/Cologne scene), its intentionally eclectic ‘ramble through a century of music’, from Wagner through Berg and Weill to Ligeti, coheres better than expected. On the other hand, one has to wait until practically the final (despairing) postlude to find anything spiritually resembling a Kafkaesque dream state. Comparatively, the first two acts, busy and relentless, seem much too crudely dramatised.


The cast, headed by Bjørn Waag as K, is obviously committed, with Rahbari (enterprisingly departing from his usual mainstream repertoire) indulging the orchestral detail and symphonic argument of the action to good effect. A complete text is included in the accompanying four-language booklet. The English translation, however, is poor, as are the generally uninformative booklet notes. Ates Orga