LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): Il Prigionero.
Catalogue Number: 01T038
Label: Oehms Classics
Reference: OC 970
Description: It is very difficult to understand why this, one of Dallapiccola's finest works, has acquired a reputation for being 'difficult' or 'unapproachable'. It is nothing of the sort. What it is is the composer's most wrenching protest against the unjust oppression of the individual by the authorities, imprisonment, humiliation and torture - of which he had seen his fair share in the first half of the 20th century. The simple but chilling plot concerns a prisoner of the Inquisition. His mother fears that he will soon be executed; he develops a sense of hope from a jailer who calls him "brother"; he believes he has been allowed to escape; as he rejoices in his imminent freedom he falls into the arms of the Inquisitor, who calls him "brother" as he leads him away to the stake. Dallapiccola uses this as a metaphor for his disgust with Fascism and repressive regimes and practices of all kinds. The music is proudly dodecaphonic; Dallapiccola fully embraced the methods of the Second Viennese School, but his use of different thematic tone rows and leitmotif-like themes allows a degree of harmonic richness and melodic lyricism that sets the work worlds apart from academic serialism. The influence of Busoni can also be felt, but the strongest impression is of the Italian tradition of grand opera. The prisoner's interior monologues, sung by the choir, are nothing short of magnificent and awe-inspiring, the vocal lines are unfailingly eloquent, the big dramatic moments the equal of anything Puccini or Verdi ever did. A searing, exhausting listening experience, but an unforgettably powerful one. Italian-German texts. Aile Asszonyi (soprano), Markus Butter (baritone), Manuel von Senden (tenor), Graz Opera Chorus, Graz Philharmonic Orchestra; Dirk Kaftan.