Schoenberg: Moses und Aron (In English) - Lewis, Robinson, Lanigan, Kelly, Jones; Solti. London, 1965


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Moses und Aron is certainly a more challenging work that Wozzeck both dramatically and musically.  The music lacks the atavistic romanticism of Berg's score and the drama does not have the same kind of power.  That is not to say that this opera is any less of a satisfying experience.  The colors Schoenberg creates have an otherworldly quality much like the Rite of Spring.  For example, in the opening scene Moses is depicted speaking to God through the burning bush.  Schoenberg sets the voice of God as a six voice choir juxtaposed with a chorus of children singing in Sprechstimme.  The effect is mesmerizing.   Although I have seen this opera live twice now, I don't think it has ever really made sense to me until I came across this performance.  This is due mostly to the fact that it is sung in English.  When you hear Sprechstimme in your native tongue you will find that the style begins to make sense and Forbes Robinson, as Moses, seems devoted to the idea of approaching this style as if it were a spoken play with music underneath even to the detriment of his otherwise mellifluous bass voice.  Richard Lewis's charismatic tenor makes him a wonderful counterpart as Aron to the otherwise taciturn Moses.  The rest of the cast includes such notable up-and-coming singers as Maureen Guy, Yvonne Minton, Gwyneth Jones and Delme Bryn-Jones.  It is to Sir Georg Solti's enormous credit that he would not only tackle this very thorny score but he could find music and even at times lyricism within it.  The sound is very good.

OD 10881-2

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