Schreker: Irrelohe

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Schreker
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Irrelohe
PERFORMER: Michael Pabst, Goran Simic, Luana De Vol, Eva Randová, Heinz ZednikSingverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien, Vienna SO/Peter Gülke
CATALOGUE NO: S2K 66850 DDD
The recent success of Decca’s new recording of Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten seems to have inspired Sony to bring this live 1989 Austrian Radio performance to disc. Irrelohe dates from 1924, six years after Die Gezeichneten. Like the earlier opera, the plot is Schreker’s own – a Gothic horror story of rape, pillage and arson in which the evil associated with the castle of Irrelohe and its Count is banished in its destruction by fire. The music is perhaps not as immediately gripping as that of the earlier operas; there are none of those heart-stopping recurring themes dressed up in lush orchestration and sensuous harmonies that dominate Gezeichneten and Der ferne Klang. But there is plenty to enjoy in this performance. Only the occasional problem of orchestral balance suggests this is a live concert performance; otherwise, the sound is as rich as many a studio recording.

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The singing is led by Luana De Vol’s Eva, Monte Pederson’s Peter, Heinz Zednik’s Christobald and Eva Randová’s Lola; only the last-mentioned, recorded on a night when her wide vibrato got the better of her, lets the side down. The Vienna SO under Peter Gülke gives a suitably fiery reading of the score.

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Another essential buy for the collector of musical decadence and ‘degeneracy’. Matthew Rye