HUGO DISTLER (1908-1942): Schauspielmusik zu "Ritter Blaubart" von Ludwig Tieck (Katharina Wingen [soprano], Stefan Livland [tenor], Neubrandenburger Philharmonie; Stefan Malzew), Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings, Op. 14 (Huguette Dreyfus [harpsichord], German Bach Soloists; Martin Stephani. Rec. 1964).
Catalogue Number: 06J008
Reference: M 56860
Description: Of historical interest is this long-unavailable 1964 recording of the 1936 concerto by one of the harpsichord's most famous and important 20th century exponents. This work was later condemned by Nazi critics as "degenerate music" and the notes provide a wealth of information arguing that its manic first two movements, followed by a deceptively relaxed set of variations on a Samuel Scheidt song (Ei du feiner Reiter), is a cloaked protest against the stifling and ominous atmosphere which non-Nazi artists were having to deal with. Distler, of course, dealt with it by committing suicide on November 1, 1942, after episodes of political harassment and repression and his brother's death on the Russian front. One of the unheard works he left behind was stage music for a production of Ludwig's Tieck's "Bluebeard", itself using the harpsichord concerto for some of its motivic elements. The production was cancelled after a dispute between the director (obviously an anti-Nazi as the extensive notes make clear) and the risk-aversive producer put paid to its planned premiere on New Year's Eve in 1940. The last portion of the complete music only came to light in 1999 and was first performed in 2002.