Reznicek: Benzin

Album cover art for upc 761203765324
Label: CPO
Catalog: 777653-2
Format: CD

Stojkovic, Johanna; Riemer, André; Süß, Carsten; Heber, Peter; Mäthger, Thomas; Kindschuh, Andreas; Hönig, Stephan; Yang, Guibee; Räsänen, Kouta; Thielemann, Susanne; Winter, Matthias; Kunze, Mathias; Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie; Bader, Ulrike; Beermann, Frank; Göpfert, Heidrun; Gäbler, Martin; Penttinen, Tiina; Chor der Oper Chemnitz

Strange but true: Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek’s opera Benzin set to his own libretto freely adapting Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s "El mayor encanto amor" collected dust for more than eighty years and first found its way from his music cabinet to the stage when it came to the attention of the Chemnitz Theater. It was here that the opera, now finally being released as a recording, celebrated its premiere on 28 November 2010. A closer examination of the opera reveals that there is much more to it than a lighthearted operetta; here we have a farcical, fantastic drama à la E. T. A. Hoffmann in which grotesque exaggeration renders tolerable the depths and perils of human existence. Dance forms pervade the music, contributing to the characterization of the social class depicted in the plot of the opera while also offering an overview of the “light tone” intended by Reznicek for this work; polonaise, foxtrot, Boston lente, and Tempo di Valse numbers occur along with a tango and a Galop presto. The tonal arsenal is fully equipped and implemented, which of course means propeller noise, sirens, and hammering on an anvil creating an authentic airport atmosphere.

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