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Brilliantly Portrayed

Friedrich Klose's
'Ilsebill' -
praised by

'... a risky yet rewarding adventure ...'

Friedrich Klose: Ilsebill. © 2009 cpo

I must confess that the music of Friedrich Klose took me completely by surprise. Born in 1862, he came to music relatively late, but after receiving his first score, which was Wagner's Lohengrin, he was completely bowled over. He not only became a fervent admirer of Wagner (later this was to spread to Liszt and Berlioz) but also had the good fortune to be one of Bruckner's pupils.

Listen -- Friedrich Klose: Zwischenspiel (Scene 4, Ilsebill
(CD2 track 11, 0:00-1:32) © 2009 cpo

As expected, his music reflects all the opulence and grand orchestration of these giants, but his language has many original touches besides. Contemporary critics praised his use of instruments such as the baritone flute and Wagner tubas, and many are attracted to the glowingly mellow sound and differentiated colours of his works.

Ilsebill is in fact an opera in five scenes and was premièred in 1903 to great critical acclaim. The libretto is by Hugo Hoffman and is based on the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale Of the Fisherman and his Wife. Ilsebill's craving ambition to relinquish her poor status and attain divine power over all and sundry is narrated through a vividly dramatic symphonic canvas, and Klose's penchant for detail is brilliantly portrayed.

Listen -- Friedrich Klose: Was stört mich auf aus stolzem Träumen? (Scene 1)
(CD1 track 5, 4:55-5:54) © 2009 cpo

The characters in particular are given music of great emotional intensity and events are never allowed to stall. This première recording has the stamp of utter dedication written all over it and CPO is to be praised for embarking on such a risky yet rewarding adventure which should help Klose's cause to a great degree. Obscure music maybe, but wholly deserving of a wide audience.

Copyright © 20 October 2009 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta







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