Schreker: Flammen

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Schreker
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Flammen
PERFORMER: Jörg Sabrowski, Manuela Uhl, Heike Wittlieb, Robert Chafin, Katharina Peetz, Hans Georg Ahrens; Kiel Opera Chorus, Kiel PO/Ulrich Windfuhr
CATALOGUE NO: 999 824-2
The operas of Franz Schreker are gradually being taken into the repertoire and it is good to be able

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to hear his first essay in the medium: Flammen, dating from 1901-2. Despite its medieval setting, the text of Flammen (by Dora Leen) has a proto-feminist impulse, a modernist touch that sets up a fascinating creative tension with the post-Wagnerian harmonic style. Schreker was to progress radically over the next decade (during the composition of Der ferne Klang) and in Flammen there are but few signs of the development to come. In its conservative way, it’s potent and memorable stuff, however, and well worth occasional performance. This CPO recording certainly doesn’t run the risk of making it seem a better work than it is. If it sounds like a worthy performance in a provincial German opera house, then that it precisely what it is. Taped live by DeutschlandRadio at Kiel Opera in June 2001, it fields six singers never less than adequate, occasionally a good deal better, under the competent direction of Ulrich Windfuhr. Barry Millington