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<<  -- 4 --  Roderic Dunnett    A BOMBSHELL

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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.'

Franz Welser-Möst. Photo: Trevor Leighton - Copyright (c) 1999 EMI Classics

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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