HEINRICH SUTERMEISTER (1910-1995): Romeo und Julia.
Catalogue Number: 02K086
Label: Musiques Suisses
Reference: MGB CD 6263
Description: Sutermeister's version of Shakespeare, in a rather conservative idiom for 1939, sets his own libretto, which trims the story down to concentrate on the two principals in six scenes that move the narrative along and emphasize emotional depth at the expense of much incidental detail. In its formal structure, its impassioned solos and duets, ensemble pieces and impressive crowd scenes, the opera plainly owes a great deal to Italian models, especially Verdi. Harmonically there is more than a trace of Busoni's influence as well as a hint of Mahlerian Nachtmusik, and a certain rhythmic insistence points to Sutermeister's contact with Orff during his student years. The tonal vocabulary led to the opera's dismissal as old-fashioned after the war, entirely unfair, as the piece more than stands on its own merits; the composer's careful choice of pivotal scenes from the drama allowed him to concentrate his efforts in music of striking eloquence - Juliet's lamenting realisation of her fate, the balcony scene that ends act one, the marriage night and final Liebestod from Act 2 are unforgettably powerful. 2 CDs. German libretto. Adolf Dallapozza (tenor), Urszula Koszut (soprano), Tölz Boys Choir, Bavarian Radio Choir, Munich Radio Orchestra; Heinz Wallberg. Original 1984 Ex Libris LP release.