MANFRED TROJAHN (b.1949): Orest.
Catalogue Number: 02P091
Label: Challenge Classics
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Trojahn's libretto, based on Euripides, takes up the story after the revenge killing of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. The central theme has become the psychology of the weak-willed Orestes' vacillation between following the dictates of external forces, which provide a kind of security, and the exercise of free will, with its attendant risks. In this version, Orestes murders Helen and faces an uncertain future, and no definite solutions or answers are provided; the social and legal commentary of the Greek drama, and the supernatural aspects - Apollo and Dionysus are competing psychological influences, and the Furies (though appearing as sung characters, amplified to sound all-immersive and disembodied) may be tormenting dreams. Aside from the brief appearances of the amplified Furies, this is far from an aggressively modernist score. Trojahn's music is by no means atonal, and might well be described as being in the direct lineage of Richard Strauss' Elektra - surely not coincidentally - expanding Strauss' ambiguous, dissonance-laced tonality, but by no means abandoning it. Violent as the story is, while matched by vigorously full-blooded late-romantic expressionist drama in the music, it never becomes a scream-fest; the vocal lines are unfailingly melodic, soaring and eloquent, and the large orchestra is unleashed to great effect at climactic moments but is otherwise used for color and atmosphere, never descending to noisy sound effects. A powerful retelling of a classic tale, presented in superbly crafted, compelling musical terms. Deluxe book-format packaging with notes in three languages and photographs of the modern dress production from which the recording is derived. German libretto. Dietrich Henschel (baritone), Sarah Castle, Romy Petrick, Rosemary Joshua (sopranos), Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra; Marc Albrecht.