ARIBERT REIMANN (b.1936): Die Gespenstersonate.
Catalogue Number: 01O067
Label: Arthaus Musik
Reference: 101 657
Description: Strindberg's play takes place in a kind of purgatory, populated by characters bound together by guilt, blame, past misdeeds and mutual loathing - a typically Strindbergian nightmare family, in other words, with metaphors drawn from the creatures of Gothic fiction - vampires, ghosts and the like. The play was a pioneering exercise in expressionism and absurdism, and Reimann sets it faithfully, with his characteristic meticulous attention to vocal technique - advanced but stopping short of avant-garde techniques. As always, the principal characters are dramatic vocal tours de force, the dissonance of the composer's idiom tempered by a constant vein of exquisite lyricism. Reimann's vocabulary is densely chromatic, contributing to an appropriately suffocating atmosphere with expressionistic intensity. Strindberg was influenced in his 'chamber plays' by the form of chamber works of Beethoven, and in acknowledgement of this, Reimann's ensemble showcases chamber groupings within a predominantly dark-hued ensemble. The staging is effective, sparse and minimal, with ingenious use of divided spaces viewed from odd, disturbing perspectives, and the production was filmed for TV, with multiple camera angles. Subtitles in five languages. World Premiere performance at the Deutsche Oper Berlin 1984. Hans Günter Nöcker (bass-baritone), Martha Mödl, Gudrun Sieber (sopranos), Horst Hiestermann, David Knutson (tenors), Ensemble Modern, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie; Friedemann Layer. 4:3 full-screen. PCM stereo. NTSC all regions. 88 min