Friday, February 25, 2011

Schumann - Scenes from Goethe's Faust – Terfel, Matilla, Bonney, Abbado, BPO







Schumann spent more than 10 years to compose this striking work: Early 1840's he wrote the final chorus on last scenes in Goethe's Faust (now Part 3). Following this he composed Part 1, which dealt with Gretchen's prayer and crime from Faust's Erster Teil. In 1850, he restarted the composition, then Faust's image Zweiter Teil on Faust's death (now Part 2): in which Schumann succeeded to set in music Faust's most famous words 'Verweile doch, du bist so schön!' (Pause the time, you are so beautiful). Just before his last illness Schumann completed this by writing the overture (1853). This is a vastly encompassing great music. Abbado's account is centered around Bryn Terfel as the star, and his Faust is as good as you'd expect form a singer who succeeds so well in Schumann's lieder. The supporting cast is equally starry. Orchestra and chorus are beyond reproach, and Sony's live concert recording is as good as a studio job. Enjoy Terfel's charismatic turn and let this somewhat elusive score settle in. 


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