DETLEF GLANERT (b.1960): Caligula.
Catalogue Number: 06L131
Label: Oehms Classics
Reference: OC 932
Description: Glanert's opera is based on Camus' play about the Roman emperor known for his destructive, and ultimately self-destructive, excesses. Caligula's insane pursuit of complete personal freedom, freedom to govern and abuse people in whatever manner he chooses, was to Camus a metaphor for the increasingly brutal regimes of our century, and the work portrays the emperor as frenzied and irrational in his destruction of everybody around him as he pursues divinity and eventually, death. Glanert's score, as in its precursor, Bestiarum Imaginarum [March 08], consists of a kind of neo-expressionism, based in late romanticism with a very Mahlerian sense of tonality and orchestration - the first orchestral interlude, for instance, is pure Mahler distorted through a mid-20th century lens that superimposes a greater degree of dissonance on the vocabulary without disguising its origins. This approach is typical of Glanert, a composer whose music has a constant sense of progression and the dramatic tension that this creates; the inexorable progress of the narrative toward its inevitable and violent conclusion is conveyed through structured musical argument, with complete avoidance of avant-garde special effects. The piece is structured, and proportioned, in the grand opera tradition, in a succession of scenes divided into the customary ensembles and solo arias. Nevertheless, the music never sounds reactionary or conservative, but like a necessary extension of a tradition fractured and often sidetracked, not always to its advantage, about a century ago. 2 CDs. German libretto. Ashley Holland (baritone), Michaela Schuster (mezzo), Martin Wölfel (countertenor), Gregory Frank (bass), Frankfurt Opera Choir, Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra; Markus Stenz.