Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Schumann - Das Paradies un die Peri – Gardiner, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique







This lovely, unjustly neglected work should have become part of the mainstream repertoire long ago. Based on a Persian legend retold by poet Thomas Moore, the story is an endearing mixture of Western and Eastern religion. Setting a Christian vision of Heaven in Allah's garden, it tells of a supplicant tainted not by guilt but by inheritance, who must be cleansed by compassion and undauntedRobert Schumann personal effort to be admitted to Paradise. The music is basically lyrical, tender, and serene but encompasses the depths and heights of intensity, lamentation, devotion, ecstasy, and triumph. A succession of vintage Schumann songs, sometimes bursting into operatic arias, is held together by often highly dramatic accompanied tenor recitatives and by long passages melding the solo voices with chorus and orchestra; the instruments evoke images of sun, moon, flowers, water, even the clash of war, refuting Schumann's supposed inability to orchestrate. The singing by both chorus and soloists is beyond praise; the orchestra is wonderfully transparent but often too subdued, evidently by interpretive choice. Of the two short pieces, the second is more beguiling for its mysterious, shimmering atmosphere. --Edith Eisler


flac, cover

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