Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


 
REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

cover image

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Mathilde von Guise (1810/1821) [102.09]
Mathilde - Kristine Gailite (soprano); Beaufort - Philippe Do (tenor); Duke - Pierre-Yves Pruvot (baritone); Baronness - Hjordis Thebault (soprano); Claudina - Eva Suskova (soprano); Valentino - Ondrej Saling (tenor); Nicolo - Martin Mikus (baritone); Leszensky - Marian Olszewski (tenor); Choir Alea
Solamente Naturali/Didier Talpain
rec. Slovak National Radio September 2008
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94043 [57.00 + 45.09]

Experience Classicsonline

When Stephen Hough’s disc of Hummel piano concertos came out in the early 1990s, it was a revelation. Here was a much neglected composer whose music responded to Hough’s treatment and made us realise that there was rather more to this man than we might have thought. Having not come across any of Hummel’s fifteen operas on disc before, I had high hopes of this recording.

Mathilde von Guise was one of Hummel’s best known operas, partly because the composer actually issued a printed piano score which was published in Leipzig in 1823. It was written for Vienna where it was premiered, in German, at the Kartnertortheater. As was the case with all German lyric drama at the time, it was in the form of a singspiel: with spoken dialogue. Hummel decided to perform the work again in 1821 at the Court Theatre in Weimar where he was working and made some minor revisions to the piece, along with changing the overture

The original of the libretto, is actually a French opéra comique, premiered in Paris in 1808. In 1823, whilst the publishers Peters were producing the vocal score Hummel tried to interest them in an Italian version presumably on the basis that Italian was still the standard language for opera.

In fact, that Italian version does not seem to exist and this new recording uses a brand new Italian translation. I am a little unclear why it was felt necessary to commission a new translation when the opera would surely be perfectly viable in German.

So, what is Hummel’s Mathilde von Guise actually like?

In style the music is highly reminiscent of Weber. Hummel undoubtedly had a great lyrical talent along with a knack for delightful and imaginative orchestration. His vocal writing requires considerable bravura and makes strong demands on the singers. The range demanded of both Mathilde and the Duke is two octaves. That said, the aria is not the most important form in the opera. Like many of Rossini’s operas, Hummel uses a great many concerted numbers. His instrumental writing is often virtuoso as well.

So, if you take any of the major sections from the piece, you would undoubtedly be more than charmed. This is delightful music: civilised and poised with some lovely transparent and refined writing.

But as a drama, it rather fails. In part this is due to the poor quality of the libretto - the story is a poor thing of rags and patches. The heroine Mathilde (Kristine Gailite) is destined by her brother the Duke (Pierre-Yves Pruvot) to marry the king of Poland - a character who does not appear on stage. Mathilde is in love with the Count of Beaufort (Philippe Do). He is not only too low in station but is the Duke’s secretary. To complicate things further, the Baroness (Hjordis Thebault) is in love with him. In the end the King of France - another character who does not actually appear in the opera - makes Beaufort a Duke and honour is satisfied.

A stronger composer could have done more with it. After all, some of Bellini’s and Donizetti’s libretti are pretty thin. Hummel seems to have been content though to take the piece at face value; the music jogs along nicely but never really catches fire.

The performers do give it their best shot. Granted, the virtuoso nature of the roles sometimes taxes them, but the overall impression is one of civilised charm. Kristine Gailite is an attractive Mathilde and Philippe Do makes credible love interest as Beaufort. The remaining cast all contribute and you feel that this is a real ensemble piece.

The Slovakian period instrument ensemble Solamente Naturali provides lively and stylish accompaniment under the direction of Didier Talpain.

The CD set comes with a booklet which provides ample information about the background to the piece, but only a rudimentary synopsis and no libretto. The Brilliant Classics web site has libretti for most of their operas available for down-load, but Mathilde von Guise does not seem to have made it there yet.

The disc also includes Hummel’s original 1810 overture as an appendix.

If this was a full price release, I would be wary of recommending it. But at Brilliant’s budget price, it is highly recommendable for anyone who is interested in what was happening to German opera in the period between Beethoven and Wagner.

Robert Hugill


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.