<< -- 4 -- Roderic Dunnett A BOMBSHELL
Balancing the Evangelist is the Voice of God (sung by a bass), for
whom Schmidt adopts a kind of total calmness. I am the Alpha and the
Omega is almost static. It's imperious, as if to say "look, these
laws are immutable, dont you dare break them by one inch." '
The great first quartet, 'Heilig ist Gott', sounds like an almost overt
echo of Die Meistersinger, or Beethoven's 9th. 'Absolutely. I think
that - without actually stealing - The Book with Seven Seals is exactly
that : a musical summation of all that preceded. The tragedy is that Karajan
never did it. The story goes - who knows, it may be apocryphal - that Schmidt
was once dismissive of his talents when Karajan was a pupil, and Karajan
never forgave him. Had Karajan performed and recorded it, I think the work
would have been recognised years ago as easily a match for the other great
oratorios we perform today.'
Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln can be heard at the BBC Proms (+44 (0)20 7589 8212) and on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30 this Sunday evening.
Franz Welser-Möst's highly praised recording of Das Buch mit
Sieben Siegeln, with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Chorus and Stig
Andersen singing the role of St John the Evangelist, is available on EMI Classics CDS 5
56660 2 (double disc).
Copyright © 17 August 2000
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK
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