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Schreker's Irrelohe was conducted at its première by Otto Klemperer. Alma Mahler's various claims include the composer 'imploring' her newest husband -- poet and novelist, Franz Werfel -- to rewrite Irrelohe (described by her as Schreker 'already on the downgrade'). On another occasion, under her ever-helpful supervision, the composer is reputed to have played Klemperer the first act of one of his operas to be met with a shrug of incomprehension from the conductor who, she says, could hear 'nothing' in it. Well -- if you go the Volksoper for this exotic display of the chromatic and the expressionist -- you'll hear plenty!

The Vienna Volksoper. Photo © Volksoper Wien
The Vienna Volksoper. Photo © Volksoper Wien

Wagner, Strauss, Mahler, Schoenberg, Debussy, Scriabin, Korngold and Franz Schmidt amongst others nod their presence in the score. There are even tunes reaching out towards Puccinian tenderness. It's rather lovely -- in a dessert menu sort of way.

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Copyright © 28 November 2004 David Wilkins, Eastbourne UK


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