K A Hartmann - Simplicius Simplicissimus
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Label: Challenge Classics
Cat No: CC72637
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 25th August 2014
ArtistsJuliane Banse (soprano)
Peter Marsch (tenor)
Will Hartmann (tenor)
Netherlands Radio Choir
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
This Hybrid SACD recording of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s unique anti-war opera Simplicius Simplicissimus marks an important step in the continuing reappraisal of his oeuvre, following Challenge Classics’ recent release of all eight symphonies by the 20th century German composer (CC72583).
Recorded live at the opera’s Dutch premiere in 2012, Markus Stenz conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir and a fine cast of singers led by celebrated soprano Juliane Banse in the title role.
Karl Amadeus Hartmann ranks among the leading German composers of the 20th century. A substantial amount of his music, which includes eight symphonies and chamber works, had its origins in one of the darkest eras in world history, the years between 1933 and 1945 when the Nazis were in power.
This period, in which Hartmann gradually withdrew from public life, represented a decisive turning point in his creative development. Before that time Hartmann had adopted a neoclassical style, but with no prospect of any performances of his work in sight, he subsequently created a musical language which, besides bearing the influences of Bach, Bruckner and Beethoven, was also highly indebted to those composers whose music the Nazis had banned, such as Mahler, Berg, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Bartók.
He employs this language not only in his symphonies and many of his chamber works, but also in his anti-war opera Simplicius Simplicissimus, based on the 1669 novel 'Der Abenteuerliche Simplicissimus' by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen.
Simplicius Simplicissimus was originally written for voices and chamber orchestra in the mid-1930s and first performed in 1948, but Hartmann went on to score it for full orchestra in 1956. It is the latter version that Stenz chose for this recording.
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