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Schreker:Die Gezeichneten Import, Box set

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 July 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import, Box set
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00000426V
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,151 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

ZAGROSEK LOTHAR / DEUTSCHES S.

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Format: Audio CD
In the 1990s, Decca's Entartete Musik series unearthed many valuable works which had been banned by the Nazis and forgotten by the world at large. Among the most interesting releases was this recording of Schreker's "Die Gezeichneten", which originally premiered in 1918 and is revealed as one of the most impressive operas of the 20th century.

The music of "Die Gezeichneten", Schreker's 5th opera, is melodic, lusciously orchestrated and often exquisitely beautiful. The duet between Alvano and Carlotta at the end of Act 1 is especially haunting.

This Decca performance under Lothar Zagrosek is very fine and a few years ago I would have given a 5 star rating. However, there is now a Euroarts DVD of the 2005 production at the Salzburg Festival conducted by Kent Nagano. Despite the bizarre staging by Lehnhoff, the performance under Nagano is even more impressive than Zagrosek's. However, the Salzburg performance contains cuts amounting to at least 20 minutes of the music, while the Decca release presents Schreker's music complete, so this CD version is still well worth considering.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive? Perhaps. Sick? You make the call.... 5 Aug. 2003
By Eric D. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Under the heading "Two Jewish Scribblers", the Nazis, in their exhibition of "Degenerate Music" took a shot at a pair of Jewish opera composers, the second being Franz Schreker. "...There was no sexual pathological aberration he would not have set to music." Well, I doubt it had much to do with being a "Jewish Scribbler", but Schreker did rush in where others hesitated! I'm right there with "Salome", and many others among the "shocking works" of the 20th century, but this one left me feeling queasy.
"Die Gezeichneten", which premiered in 1918, has many of the characteristics that I look for in a great expressionist opera. It is ambitious, sophisticated, and highly imaginative in it's use of orchestral color. The libretto is at times richly descriptive, and the prelude is darkly haunting. One of my favorite composers, Alexander Zemlinsky, commisioned the libretto for "Gezeichneten", asking Schreker for "the tragedy of an ugly man". But Schreker decided to set it himself, and Zemlinsky went on to set his own "tragedy of an ugly many"--his masterpiece "Der Zwerg".
In Schreker's version, a hunchback nobleman, Alviano, builds a world of fantastic beauty on an island he dubs "Elysium". His more attractive noble friends amuse themselves by abducting noblewomen, taking them to the island and ravishing them. Not wanting to spoil the beauty of the island, our hero doesn't participate, prefering to get his jollies the only way he can--paying cringing prostitutes. He then meets the young, beautiful, noblewoman Carlotta, who loves him for the beauty of his soul. Her monologue at the end of Act I describing this was, for me, the high point of the opera. Sadly, Carlotta, has a weak heart which can't stand activities that would...uh...overwork it, so their relationship remains unconsumated. Eventually, though, she starts to tire of her noble hunchback, and when finally Tamare, the most rapacious of his friends abducts and rapes her to death (a "her lips said 'no', her eyes said 'yes'" sort of thing), she is finally satisfied, and when Alviano rushes to her side, she dies with Tamare's name on her lips. Alviano goes mad.
The music has many virtues, but even at it's most impressive seems infected with a sort of "icky" quality, that well matches the text. It is fascinating, and late romantic enthusiasts like me should check it out and form their own opinion. For those who espouse nihlistic hedonism, it might seem the greatest opera ever written. But for me, the triumph of lust and taking over real love and respect hardly seems so romantic.
The performance is first rate, though the Alviano has an odd, not very attractive cast to his voice. But this is the performance to own, all other available recordings being drastically cut. This account is complete.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but poorly presented, not least by Amazon 18 Jan. 2014
By detlef - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Just wanted to note that the Amazon reviews are confusing here. This Walhall CD issue of Schreker's Die Gezeichneten gives us a historic 1960 radio broadcast of the opera, which was once unofficially available on LP. With a cast including Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart (Karajan's Wotan), this isolated performance was the first post-WW2 revival of Schreker's opera - the first, in fact, since its heyday after the 1918 premiere - and Die Gezeichneten had to wait nearly twenty more years for a well-deserved return to the stage. The recording is fascinating indeed, but its interest is "historical", for those who already know the opera and its composer's music. Voices are very forward, the orchestra somewhere out there in a sonically challenged boot cupboard (a real problem for this or any other Schreker opera). Such things wouldn't in themselves be cause for complaint. The three-star rating is for the atrocious presentation - the only accompanying documentation is a skimpy track listing, and a release like this could surely supply some information about the circumstances of the original broadcast.

Unfortunately, and thanks to Amazon's sloppiness, it's tagged with several reviews originally attached to a more recent Decca (London) recording of the opera under Lothar Zagrosek, one of which says "This is the recording to own." The reviewer, Eric Anderson, is right about the Zagrosek, though I don't share his negative view of the opera (all that musical-sexual vertigo points straight to the culture of Freud's and Schreker's Vienna, and you either love it or hate it). But anyone who doesn't know Gezeichneten, and through no fault of Mr Anderson's is misled into purchasing this Walhall recording, will be disappointed. If you don't know and want to hear this wonderful music, try to get hold of the Zagrosek, strongly cast and in sound that does justice to Schreker's extraordinary orchestration. Try too to find a copy of the original London release with its full libretto, rather than London's cheapskate reissue (synopsis only). If you do get hooked on one of the last century's most underrated composers (and he is, with good reason, not so neglected any more), by all means hunt up important performance documents like this, but Zagrosek is the place to start.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 20th Century Opera 16 Sept. 2013
By Colloredo von Salzburg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Franz Schreker's Operas were and still are fantastic and incredibly original works. In the Weimar Republic years (1920's) they
were very highly acclaimed Operas with many productions and performances, placing in popularity just second to those of Richard
Strauss. Sadly, Schreker's brilliant career as a composer was truncated when nazis took the power, taking him to a deep
depression and furthermore to an early death in 1934.

In "Die Gezeichneten", Schreker's 4th Opera, the composer reveals a musical and dramatic gift that rivals the combined genius of
Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal in their great collaboration. It is a boldly conceived, even outrageous drama whose plot is hard to summarize without making it sound sillier than it is. The drama is wrought with enormous elegance and artistry, features that are
widely emphasized under Zagrosek's baton and his DSO Berlin forces.

This lavish, luxurious music may be excessive for some listeners, but taken on its own terms, "Die Gezeichneten" is a masterpiece.
The Zagrosek's release is a breathtaking performance, with a rich recorded sound and an close to ideal cast of singers. Elizabeth
Connell is especially fine as Carlotta. Alviano, sung by Heinz Kruse, a heldentenor, is a bit more workmanlike, though his intensity
is certainly appropriate to the work.

In summary, a really great score, with this release as a reference recording for the complete version.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars opera-goers, wake up! 23 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
why is this opera not performed, at least here in the us? because opera-goers are so entrenched in the staple repertoire, which hasn't substantially changed for 100 years. the story is ludicrous, of course. how many standard rep operas DO NOT have ludicrous stories? this opera is everything the above reviewers say it is: lush, romantic, beautiful, memorable characters; i could go on and on. and yet, nobody performs this gorgeous opera anywhere in the states. i can perfectly understand opera-goers not wanting to stomach schoenberg or stockhausen -- they have a right to reject the objectionable. but opera-goers must wake up and open their minds and hearts to works of beauty that have not been cannonized. and this goes for some later strauss, all of handel, and many other rarely heard gems. opera-lovers, i say unto you: get this cd. it would be a great first step in getting yourselves out of your standard rep rut.
4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best opera by Schreker 7 Mar. 2007
By Martin Pitchon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Perfect! Deep! Intense, sublime.

Martin Pitchon
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