Skip to content

Arnold Schoenberg – Gurre-Lieder – Gurzenich-Orchester Koln, Markus Stenz (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Arnold Schoenberg – Gurre-Lieder – Gurzenich-Orchester Koln, Markus Stenz (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:47:59 minutes | 1,9 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records |  @ Hyperion Records
Recorded: June 2014, Kölner Philharmonie, Germany

The Gürzenich-Orchester of Cologne has a pedigree second to none—counting Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss among those who have entrusted it with premieres of their works—and when you hear this new recording the reasons for this are clear. Devastating brass combines with mellifluous winds and strings in a performance of Schoenberg’s late Romantic masterpiece. Markus Stenz conducts a fine line-up of soloists and marshalls the massed choirs in this most epic of works.

More than a century after its first appearance, Arnold Schoenberg’s name on a concert programme still sends concertgoers fleeing in confusion and dismay – irrationally, since Schoenberg was essentially a conservative composer with a powerful urge to engage. If you know anyone who is afflicted with Schoenberg phobia, play them Gurre-Lieder and you won’t have to wait very long for ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of unadulterated pleasure.
Begun in 1900, as a low-budget song cycle for soprano, tenor and piano, Gurre-Lieder wound up a dozen years later as an orchestral score for 150 musicians, five soloists and six choruses, almost two hours long. What happened in between? Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand, that’s what. Schoenberg was overwhelmed by Mahler’s personality and vision and shattered by his death in 1911. Achieving a work that was as vast as Mahler’s Eighth Symphony while maintaining the innocence of his early Klagende Lied proved an irresistible challenge to a penniless, embattled composer. Gurrelieder, like Mahler’s Eighth, is a game of unequal halves, neither oratorio nor opera, yet oddly gripping.
The story is banal. The king has a fling. The queen kills the girl. The king goes riding with ghosts. More Wagner than Mahler, the score surges with unresolved Tristan chords and pent-up sexual frustration (Schoenberg was having domestic issues at the time). It requires a top-notch orchestra and a conductor with micro-tight control.
Cologne’s Gürzenich Orchestra fits the bill, with glorious lower strings and searing woodwind solos; conductor Markus Stenz keeps the passion simmering, never lets it flag. Brandon Jovanovich sings a wistful king, Barbara Haveman a much-wronged queen; the choirs are tremendous and the concertmaster, Ursula Maria Berg, has a way of shifting the narrative that is rare in a work of this size.
On record, nothing matches Rattle’s 2001 all-stars—Mattila, Moser, Langridge, Otter, Quasthoff—but the Cologne sound is warmer than Berlin’s and the tempi more fluid and sympathetic. Don’t hesitate. –Norman Lebrecht, Sinfini Music

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
1 Part 1 No 1: Vorspiel[6’28]
2 Part 1 No 2: Nun dämpft die Dämm’rung (Waldemar)[4’00]
3 Part 1 No 3: O, wenn des Mondes Strahlen milde gleiten (Tove)[3’10]
4 Part 1 No 4: Ross! Mein Ross! Was schleichst du so träg? (Waldemar)[2’54]
5 Part 1 No 5: Sterne jubeln, das Meer, es leuchtet (Tove)[2’23]
6 Part 1 No 6: So tanzen die Engel vor Gottes Thron nicht (Waldemar)[2’38]
7 Part 1 No 7: Nun sag ich dir zum ersten Mal (Tove)[4’11]
8 Part 1 No 8: Es ist Mitternachtszeit (Waldemar)[6’20]
9 Part 1 No 9: Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick (Tove)[5’26]
10 Part 1 No 10: Du wunderliche Tove! (Waldemar)[3’50]
11 Part 1 No 11: Zwischenspiel[5’47]
12 Part 1 No 12: Tauben von Gurre! Sorge quält mich (Stimme der Waldtaube)[12’11]
13 Part 2: Herrgott, weisst du, was du tatest (Waldemar)[5’15]
14 Part 3 No 1: Erwacht, König Waldemars Mannen wert! (Waldemar)[2’56]
15 Part 3 No 2: Deckel des Sarges klappert und klappt (Bauer/Männerchor)[3’27]
16 Part 3 No 3: Gegrüsst, o König, an Gurre-Seestrand! (Waldemars Mannen)[4’56]
17 Part 3 No 4: Mit Toves Stimme flüstert der Wald (Waldemar)[3’27]
18 Part 3 No 5: Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so’n Aal (Klaus-Narr)[7’02]
19 Part 3 No 6: Du strenger Richter droben (Waldemar)[2’21]
20 Part 3 No 7: Der Hahn erhebt den Kopf zur Kraht (Waldemars Mannen)[6’00]
21 Part 3 No 8: Des Sommerwindes wilde Jagd: Vorspiel – Herr Gänsefuss, Frau Gänsekraut (Sprecher) – Seht die Sonne (Chor)[13’17]

Brandon Jovanovich, tenor
Barbara Haveman, soprano
Claudia Mahnke, mezzo-soprano
Gerhard Siegel, tenor
Thomas Bauer, baritone
Johannes Martin Kränzle, speaker
Domkantorei Köln
Männerstimmen des Kölner Domchores
Vokalensemble Kölner Dom
Chor des Bach-Vereins Köln
Kartäuserkantorei Köln
Netherlands Female Youth Choir
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
Markus Stenz, conductor


%d bloggers like this: