Braunfels: The Birds (Die Vogel/ The Birds) (Brandon Jovanovich/ James Conlon/ James Johnson/ Martin Gantner) (Arthaus Dvd: 101529)
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A production of the LA Opera House ground-breaking Recovered Voices project, highlighting the works of composers affected by the Holocaust. Walter Braunfels, a strong advocate of neo Romanticism, made significant contributions to the world of twentieth-century opera. Yet, he lost his rightful places in twentieth-century opera houses. His music inhabits a very different world, both geographically and aesthetically, nurtured far from Vienna's charged, multi-cultural atmosphere. Deeply rooted in German Classicism and Romanticism, he conceals none of his admiration for the inherited past and sees himself as building on its fundamentals. By almost any standard, he was a conservative. The premiere of Die Vogel in Munich in 1920, under the direction of Bruno Walter (who still lauded the work as late as 1950), was a huge public and critical success. The number of productions and performances in the following years was staggering. However, in the post- World War II years of his"rehabilitation," Braunfels never regained a foothold. Die Vogel was not produced again until 1971 in Karlsruhe and 1994 in Berlin.
"A rare chance to hear Braunfels's lighthearted, tenderly spiritual and little-known fable..." The New York Times
"A marvelous performance...the orchestra sounded radiant." Los Angeles Times
"Conlon conducted with lustrous elan...We should hear more of Braunfels' work." Financial Times, London