Magazine article Gramophone

Pfitzner: Die Rose Vom Liebesgarten

Magazine article Gramophone

Pfitzner: Die Rose Vom Liebesgarten

Article excerpt

Pfitzner Die Rose vom Liebesgarten  Erin Caves ten                                      Siegnot Kouta Rasanen bass     Der Waffenmeister/Der Nacht-Wunderer Andreas Kindschuh bar                     Der Sangesmeister Astrid Weber sop                                 Minneleide Jana Buchner sop                               Schwarzhilde Tiina Penttinen mez                                 Rotelse Andre Riemer ten                               Der Moormann 

Chorus and Children's Chorus of Chemnitz Opera; Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie / Frank Beermann

CPO (F) (3) CP0777 500-2 (165' * DDD)

Includes synopsis, libretto and translation

If you've ever wondered why Hans Pfitzner failed to win the hand of Alma Schindler and wound up instead with Percy Grainger's cast-off Mimi Kwast, drop the needle in Act 1 of the former composer's 1901 opera Die Rose von Liebesgarten, when the hero Siegnot woos the Queen of the Woods, Minneleide. It is a long time since I heard anything so charmless.

Critics at the opera's first performance in 1905 (facilitated and conducted by Mahler) liked the music but thought the libretto by Pfitzner's university chum James Grun, to a scenario by the composer himself, laughable. Age hasn't done it any favours. In truth, Pfitzner's story (knight arrives in mysterious garden; knight sets out to find love; knight is destroyed by evil spells; knight is resurrected and reunited with his bride) isn't a million miles away from Lohengrin with its fairy-tale and redemptive elements. So why does Der Rose von Liebesgarten prompt giggles instead of tears?

Most obviously because this was the 20th century. More importantly because Pfitzner is straitjacketed by his own diligent mindset. Die Rose von Liebesgarten doesn't get down on its hands and knees like Humperdinck's wonderful Konigskinder (a comparable work in some ways), and, in the other direction, it doesn't get close to the exaltation of any mature Wagner. …

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