Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing! A real find, 28 Oct. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Korngold: Das Wunder Der Heliane (Audio CD)
I will admit to having listened to this wonderful recording only a couple of times and am hence still sorting out in my mind what I think of it and what its real strengths and attractions are, but I am so surprised and delighted by it that I shall attempt a preliminary review.

The melodies are very broad and even meandering - but the richness, depth, power and, yes, you have to use the word when talking of Korngold, lushness of the orchestration carries the listener away on a wave of sound. As usual, I am not bothered by the naivety of the plot, nor the gaucheness of the libretto; many a more celebrated opera has far more cheesiness about it and the point is that the music transmutes any leaden limitation here into pure (Korn)gold (sorry). The most astonishing music comes in the third act, where not only the soloists but also the choir and the orchestra come into their own, changing up yet another gear and wringing the soul with this tremendous, no-holds-barred music. Comparisons are odious and it's not necessary to hold a competition between Strauss and Korngold to find who is the greater post-Romantic, but where Strauss sometimes seems embarrassed by his addiction to beauty of sound and feels compelled to write some spiky modernism into his score, Korngold just wallows and luxuriates in bitonal, harmonic complexity and "out-Strausses Strauss". Yes, there are many echoes of Puccini, too - apparently "Heliane" was Puccini's own favourite opera - but the voice is all Korngold's own.

The singing is stupendous and the singers just get better as the opera unfolds; Welker, the baritone who sings the hateful yet oddly sympathetic Ruler, Heliane's desperate husband, in particular, shakes off some bleat and harshness to sing more richly and firmly in the second and third acts. Some occasional thinness at the very top of her range apart, Tomowa-Sintow is fabulous - better here than in anything else by her I have ever heard. De Haan does a terrific job with the hellishly difficult heldentenor role; Gedda defies the years to deliver an incisively inflected performance of the Blind Judge, which is more than a mere comprimario role; Runkel is suitably nasty and powerfully voiced as the bitter, almost psychotic Messenger; Pape's performance as the Porter is a gem - his Third Act aria featuring some of the best bass-baritone singing I have yet to encounter and with a terrific top G flat - and the conductor Mauceri presides over a masterfully over-arching and controlled account of this fiendishly complex score. It is recorded in wonderful Decca sound - a real spectacular especially on good equipment.

I shall need several more hearings before I can get to grips emotionally and intellectually with this piece. I'm no musician and I suspect that at this stage I admire more than I love this music, as I cannot always grasp its shape, but I know that repeated listenings and greater familiarity will bring further rewards; I am certainly very glad I have discovered it and recommend it to any lover of romantic Grand Opera and the voice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jun 2009 15:53:42 BDT
Hi Mr.Moore, I shall either have to read all of your reviews and bankrupt myself or stop to prevent all my goods being poinded. Another fine review. Another sale for Amazon. Tom Kent.

Posted on 19 Jun 2009 15:54:31 BDT
Hi Mr.Moore, I shall either have to read all of your reviews and bankrupt myself or stop to prevent all my goods being poinded. Another fine review. Another sale for Amazon. Tom Kent.

Posted on 21 Jul 2009 11:23:58 BDT
Thanks for the comments, it's cost me a shed full of money for all the Korngolds ! Love 'em !

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jul 2009 11:38:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Jul 2009 19:49:46 BDT
Ralph Moore says:
Glad to be of assistance; sorry about inciting you to spend. I'm afraid that I am often a poor supporter of the ailing classical music industry as I more often than not buy discs via Amazon Marketplace, second hand and discount stores online, and eBay - or sometimes I am sent free discs for review, and am thus able to keep the expense down. Having said that, I'm doing my bit by reviewing and thus (I hope) pointing people towards purchasing good recordings. I've also spent a shedload of cash on tickets to live performances this year - no Korngold, alas.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Bishop's Stortford, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 48