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Frank MARTIN (1890-1974)
Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (1942-43)
Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur/Jac van Steen
rec. Stadthaus Winterthur, February 2006†
DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 9011444-6 [57:50]
song-cycle is one of absolute seriousness of design and purpose
and† remains one of the most compelling such works ever written.
Itís not lacked for interpreters but in Christianne Stotijn
it has found a new champion, one quite worthy to rank beside
Marjana Lipovsek whose Orfeo disc with the Austrian Radio
Symphony and Lothar Zagrosek projects a rather more overtly
contralto, a genuine one by the way and thus of considerable
rarity value, is put to the test by the fearsome demands
Martin puts on it Ė of characterisation and expression as
much as matters of technique. Fortunately she displays in
the second song, Der Kleine Marquis, one of the most
admirable features of her vocal production - flexibility
and freedom in the upper register where it retains brightness
and body without coarsening. In Wachtfeuer the lower
part of her voice is especially well focused. This terse
and tensile setting is hard to put across but she does so
with conviction and certainty. Itís a marker for the whole
performance in fact.
motoric defiance of Ein Tag durch den Tross is equally
well done by the orchestral forces where instrumental deployment
either spare Ė as in Reiten Ė or garrulous, as here,
shows how adept are the Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur
under Jac van Steen. Such things as the surging brass in Spork and
the immediate and powerful contrast with the succeeding Der
Schrei show that the emotional temperature of these settings
has been sensitively calibrated.
Stotijn needs to deploy near-Wagnerian heft she does so; Das
Schloss is elemental in its vivid declamation but note
too her care over word placement and dynamics. Without such
qualities her singing of Und Einer steht would not
be as impressive as it undoubtedly is. Thereís a malleability
to her singing, a lightning of tone that is impressive. So
too the military orchestral interjections in Ist das der
Morgen? and the flaring power of Der Tod.
fact this is such a fine account that musical reservations
are few. The sound is clear, bright and heard in SACD clarity.
Only one complaint - there are no translations and that is
a blow if you donít have access to the poems. The Lipovsek
recording (Orfeo C164 881A) has them as do most other recordings
and they are vital for understanding. Only fluent German
speakers can survive without them. With that caveat noted
this is an admirable recording.
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