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Heiko Mathias Forster & Marek Stilec - Antonin Dvorak: Alfred (2015)

Classic | Author: SELMER | 12-04-2018, 06:18
Heiko Mathias Forster & Marek Stilec - Antonin Dvorak: Alfred (2015)
Artist: Heiko Mathias Forster & Marek Stilec
Title Of Album: Antonin Dvorak: Alfred
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Arco Diva
Country: Germany & Czech Republic
Genre: Classical
Quality: FLAC (*image + .cue, log, artwork)
Bitrate: Lossless
Time: 02:05:10
Full Size: 610 MB


CD 1
1. Tragische Ouverture / Tragic Overture 15:38

Act 1
2. Scene 1 8:50
3. Scene 2 9:43
4. Scene 3 5:25
5. Ballet 4:14
6. Scene 4 7:28

CD 2
Act 2
1. Scene 1 5:50
2. Scene 2 7:25
3. Scene 3 / Prelude / Trio 5:23
4. Scene 4 2:59
5. Finale 2:01
6. Romance 8:06

Act 3
7. Scene 1 3:51
8. Scene 2 4:42
8. Scene 3 6:29
10. Scene 4 8:50
11. Scene 5/1 7:53
12. Quintet 1:27
13. Scene 5/2 8:40

The early opera of Antonin Dvorak recorded here definitely falls into the historical oddity category. It's in German, not Czech, set to a libretto by a poet long dead by 1870, when the work was composed, and it is unknown why Dvorak would have undertaken such a sizable project. The subject is a British king, Alfred the Great, who also inspired the opera by Thomas Arne that contains Rule, Brittania, and even shows up in the Vikings television miniseries. Although it was primarily Brahms off whom Dvorak's deepest ideas bounced creatively, the dominant models in this opera are Wagner (or the emerging mainstream simplification of his language: those who've heard Arthur Sullivan's Ivanhoe might be reminded of that work) and, in the active use of the chorus, French grand opera. The music is ponderous in spots, and some might argue that the whole thing doesn't quite hang together, but there are also impressive passages like the 15-minute overture (it's almost as if the composer was itching to get back to instrumental music), and those interested in the early part of Dvorak's career will be interested to see how he picks apart the structure of the libretto. The work is convincingly performed by a cast of largely unknown (at least internationally) Czech and German singers, and conductor Heiko Mathias Forster and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra keep things moving along. The live sound from the Rudolfinum (not Rudofinum, as the graphics have it) is better than expected, and the opera seems to have held the attention of the audience. Not something to rewrite the history books, and there is very little of the mature Dvorak in it, but at the same time it is of considerable interest to those who love this composer and are especially intrigued by his long years of struggle. -- James Manheim

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