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The two large scale works of four-hand music, the sprawling Nachklang einer Sylvesternacht (Echoes of New Year's Eve) and the Manfred Meditation [listen -- CD2 track 3, 6:44-8:00], form a trilogy of sorts with the violin piece, sharing motivic material that is also symbolically autobiographical, touching as they do on Nietzsche's superstitions about time, while making an oblique, though brief reference to Wagner's Siegfried Idyll. While his purpose was hardly to imitate his one-time hero, and later bitter opponent, it is emblematic of his unusual, and emotionally dependent relationship with Cosima Liszt, Wagner's mistress and second wife. Here, Mr Coote and Mr Papasifakis team up, as they do again in a discrete performance of the Monodie a Deux, to fine effect. Perhaps because Nietzsche's skills as a pianist were undeveloped at best, the piano writing is dense and thorny, making ensemble playing at times an uncomfortable occasion for physical contortion; all too frequently the four hands intersect, collide and all but fall over each other. But the pianists here overcome all that easily, conveying with precision and purpose the internecine conflicts that lurk behind the notes as well as the literary ideas that influence them.

What distinguishes this new recording from the NMP's original efforts is the inclusion of a CD-Rom that showcases excerpts from an extraordinary film about Nietzsche and his relationship to music. Produced and written by NMP founder and creative director Tali Makell, in co-operation with New York filmmaker Stephen Blauweiss, Zarathustra's Drunken Song is movingly narrated by the distinguished stage and screen actor, Fritz Weaver. The imagery and cohesive narrative, accompanied throughout by Nietzsche's music, is as detailed as it is compelling, and one of the most absorbing documentaries to come along in recent memory. Brief as they are, these enchanting clips hold plenty of promise, and wet the appetite for more.

Detailed and elegantly written liner notes in English and German (the film is also available in a German version), compliment vivid translations of the poetry, set to Rückert, Pushkin, Petöfi, Chamisso, Andreas-Salome, and Nietzsche himself.

Copyright © 2 November 2003 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


The Music of Friedrich Nietzsche

Stereo NEW RELEASE (2 CDs) 47'07"/44'18" - TT 91'25" 2003 Nietzsche Music Project

David Blackburn, tenor; Thomas Coote, piano; Christian Hebel, violin; Manolis Papasifakis, piano

CD1: Da geht ein Bach (piano version); Aus der Jugendzeit; Mein Platz vor der Tür; Das Kind an die erloschener Kerze; Da geht ein Bach (vocal arrangement); Ständchen; Es winkt und neigt sich; Unendlich; Gern und Gerner; Das Zerbrochene Ringlein (piano solo); Ungewitter; Junge Fischerin; Verwelkt; Beschwörung; Monodie a Deux (piano four hands); Kirchengeschichtliches Responsorium; Wie sich Rebenranken schwingen; Nachspiel; Gebet an das Leben; CD2: Eine Sylvesternacht; Nachklang einer Sylvesternacht, mit Prozessionslied, Bauerntanz, und Glockengeläut; Manfred-Meditation; Das Fragment an sich. Also includes a CDROM containing excerpts of the documentary film 'Zarathustra's Drunken Song'



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