UDO ZIMMERMANN (b.1943): Weisse Rose.
Catalogue Number: 11R071
Label: Brilliant Classics
Format: CD reissue
Description: Zimmermann's chamber opera is based on the true story of brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl, members of a non-violent resistance group White Rose, which published pamphlets in opposition to Hitler. They were arrested, imprisoned and guillotined by the Nazis. The piece takes place in their prison cell and consists entirely of dialogue between the two characters, a powerful De profundis in which they reflect on their situation, knowing what their fate will be, while envisioning the world outside through images of beauty and hope for a future in which the world will be cleansed of the horrors that led to their situation. There is no action in the work, but the brutality of their interrogation is conveyed unequivocally through the music; harsh, pounding percussive chords fall like blows between episodes of desperate yet lyrical sung material in a broadly expressionistic style. An especially moving section is based on a waltz, beginning like an innocently nostalgic memory then distorted, then regaining its elegant consonance, a sense of longing for a world outside the nightmare. A powerful, intense work. Libretto available on-line. Grazyna Szklarecka (soprano), Frank Schiller (tenor), Musica Viva Ensemble Dresden; Udo Zimmermann. Original 1992 Berlin Classics release.