Der Kaiser von Atlantis (IBS Classical, 2018)

CHF 22.00

Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944)
Der Kaiser von Atlantis—oder Die Tod-Verbeigerung, Op. 49
Newly reconstructed version of the opera, written in Terezin in 1994 on a libretto by Peter Kien (1919-1944)

The Artists
Pierre-Yves Pruvot Kaiser Overall
Wassyl Slipak Der Tod, Der Lautsprecher
Anna Wall Der Trommler
Natalie Pérez Bubikopf
Sébastien Obrecht Harelkin, Ein Soldat
Orchestre Musique des Lumières
Catalin Desaga concertmaster
Facundo Agudin music director

The powerful words of Peter Kien
The snow rests on the remains of the cities,
In mouldy ruins the hare and the deer play.
How I wish we had withered away!
The woods, that we devastate, grow free,
No one stops the water from flowing on its way.
Death comes back as hunger, love, life!
Sometimes clouds, sometimes lightning, but never again murder. Our life rests in your hand, take it away!
(Death takes the Emperor softly by the hand and leads him through the mirror, while the choral is heard from the backstage.)

On our recording
Der kaiser von Atlantis: a revenge on auschwitz. // by Bruno Giner, 2017
Since its first performance in 1975, Der Kaiser von Atlantis gradually traces its way to its entry into the operatic repertoire. It was high time, as it is indeed a work of essential importance to the musical history of the 20th century – not because it was composed in Theresienstadt, not as an emblematic parable of totalitarianism, nor merely as an evidence of resistance against barbarism – but indeed because it is an accomplished and artistically successful work, a synthesis of the musical language of its time, bearing a strong and lasting aesthetic message: a revenge on Auschwitz.
[complete article in the booklet notes]

A unique source. // by Lisandro Abadie 2017
Even the most recent editions persist in the confusion between the intentions of the authors and the modifications which date from the very first period of rehearsals: deletions, additions, erasures, cuts and changes of order are superimposed in a single handwritten source. Ingo Schultz clearly insists upon the urgent need to return to the manuscript in order to understand Ullmann’s intention through a careful rereading of the instructions that come from his own hand. The present recording proposes such a reading.
[complete article in the booklet notes] 

Agudin’s Splendid New Emperor of Atlantis. Ensemble blend is not something stressed very often in modern-day opera or oratorio performances, and I for one was thrilled to hear it. It is the mark of conscientious artists who care about musical values. But, as I say, it’s the overall dramatic quality of the performance that hits you hard. // The Art Music Lounge, 2018

An Opera in the Ghetto. I know of no example in history of any work written in collaboration between composer and librettist who would have been forced to live together in this way, within a few square metres. “They must have been working at great speed, and this can be appreciated in a work in which the rhythm is constantly accelerating, as if the end were inevitable. It’s a real whirlwind. » says Facundo Agudín, who, leading a team of five soloists and his orchestra Musique des Lumières, has recorded Ullmann’s opera for IBS Classical. // Pablo Vayon, Diario de Sevilla, 2018

A vital statement against a machinery of death. The Musique des Lumières orchestra, which Agudin conducts with perfect mastery, also restores the chamber dimensions of the original ensemble: this allows the delicate effects reserved for the piano to be emphasised, no less than for the saxophone, banjo, harmonium and percussion, often evoking a certain music-hall atmosphere. // Rodolfo Biscia, Revista Ñ, 24.04,18



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