Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 521.
(photo credit: Yeugene/WikiCommons)
Anyone who knew Schoenberg merely as a modernist, atonal composer, must have
been struck by his Gurre-Lieder, performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,
as utterly un- Schoenbergian.
The work was written before the composer
embarked on his later modernist, dodecaphonic style. Despite discernible
Wagnerian and Mahlerian post-Romantic influences, Gurre-Lieder is thoroughly
individual and personal in style and conception.
Never before has such a
monumental work of a large symphony orchestra, triple chorus, soloists and,
above all, profound emotional tempestuousness and intensity been
The very beginning opened with, for Schoenberg, a surprise –
delicate, subtle, altogether atypical. In the first part’s love duet, Daniel
Kirch’s warm, rich lyric tenor, as Waldemar, conveyed his strong feelings with
the utmost emotional intensity, wisely abstaining from sentimentality or
theatrics, especially in his moving outcry “Wondrous Tove!” Daniela Denschlag’s
velvety contralto, in the role of the Wood Dove, in the second part, movingly
expressed the heartrending lament over Tove’s death. Jennifer Wilson’s bright
and smooth soprano represented a convincingly loving Tove.
Zubin Mehta admirably led the enormous ensemble of the Israel Philharmonic
Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Gary Bertini Choir, sensitively
creating the subtlest nuances of dynamics as well as the tremendous turbulence
of the “Wild Hunt.”
Overall, this performance was an extraordinary