Schreker: Der ferne Klang

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COMPOSERS: Schreker
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Der ferne Klang
PERFORMER: Elena Grigorescu, Thomas Harper, Andreas Haller; Hagen Opera Chorus, Hagen PO/Michael Halász
CATALOGUE NO: 8.660074-75 Reissue (1989)
Franz Schreker’s most successful opera was a real work of its time, the first decade of the 20th century. An expressionist portrayal of a composer, Fritz, whose search for the elusive ‘distant sound’ for his own opera leads him to reject and then seek his lover Grete, it makes the heady emotional worlds of Mahler and Strauss seem almost tame by comparison. There have still only been two commercial recordings made of the work, both of which have their strengths and weaknesses. But the reissue of this original Marco Polo release at budget price clinches it: the cast is more than serviceable (the rival Capriccio set is dogged by Gabrielle Schnaut’s warbly Grete) and the orchestral playing full-blooded and atmospheric. Matthew Rye

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