<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson A POWERFUL WORK
The impression of the work, though, is far from stark. The orchestral sounds,
interpreted with total commitment by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under
Thomas Dausgaard, are as opulent as anything Strauss thought up for the court of
Herod the tetrarch or for the doomed Agamemnon in murderous Mycenae. The 1920s
were inhospitable to such music, but if anyone deserved it after 1914-18, it was
surely Antichrist. He seems now permanently to stalk the world in ever-threatening
ways the least satisfactory pope could never have conceived. Antikrist is
a powerful work, gripping equally to hear and watch.
Sten Byriel as Lucifer, summons the Antichrist. DVD screenshot © 2005 Dacapo Records
Antikrist was first staged in Innsbruck six years ago. The Danes made
amends with this performance 50 years after Langgaard's death. The Royal Danish
Theatre is at last involved, but the setting is the vast space of a Riding School,
with the orchestra prudently surrounded by battlements against the developments
on stage. Staffan Holm as stage director has made of his cast a black-clad sect,
led by an Ibsenesque Lucifer in the person of Sten Byriel. His first task,
impressively done, is to summon Antichrist
[watch -- Prologue, chapter 2, 0:00-1:34].
Physically Antichrist does not appear, but in a blaze of sound Morten Suurballe as
the spoken Voice of God permits him to range the world and relish its decadence
[listen -- Prologue, chapter 2, 4:38-6:10].
Copyright © 3 August 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK