Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder

Reviewed on Thu 15 Oct, 2015

Among the vocalists there are stand-out displays from Brandon Jovanovich as Waldemar and Claudia Mahnke as the Voice of the Wood Dove, whose narrative projects with a searing intensity that recalls Brigitte Fassbaender's thrilling contribution on Chailly's Decca recording.

Set down in the admirable acoustic of Cologne's Philharmonie, this new version of Schoenberg's titanic Gurre-Lieder certainly earns its spurs. Not only does Markus Stenz secure a marvellously eloquent and superbly coordinated response from his massed choral and orchestral forces, his supple, authoritative conception harnesses impressive long-term rigour to a keen poetic and dramatic instinct. Among the vocalists there are stand-out displays from Brandon Jovanovich as Waldemar, Gerhard Siegel as Klaus-Narr, and Claudia Mahnke as the Voice of the Wood Dove, whose narrative projects with a searing intensity that recalls Brigitte Fassbaender's thrilling contribution on Chailly's Decca recording. There's also fierce competition from the likes of Sinopoli (Teldec), Rattle (EMI), Gielen (Hänssler) and Levine (Oehms), but no one who has ever fallen under the spell of Schoenberg's giddily inventive, multi-faceted and hugely lovable creation should fail to investigate this compelling Hyperion release. Hearty plaudits to all involved.
–Andrew Achenbach