Friday, January 11, 2013

Sunday Classics goes on hiatus


The "Moonlight Interlude" from Richard Strauss's last opera, Capriccio, is played here by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the composer's friend Clemens Krauss, who happened also to be the librettist of the opera. It's from a complete Munich broadcast performance of Capriccio from 1953.

by Ken

As TV savants know, this is not usually a good thing, when a program goes -- or more properly is sent -- on hiatus, a domain from which only the select few spectacles return, except perhaps for the run-off of previously unaired but already-paid-for episodes during times when nobody is expecting to be watching anyway.

Some other time maybe I'll talk about some of the thinking (for want of a better word) that has gone into this development. For now, though, my concern, is the mass of Sunday Classics material that's already floating around on servers somewhere. I haven't actually tried to count, but between previews and main posts, that's two posts a week (or actually, for the period when I usually did two previews, three) going back to early 2009, which adds up to . . . um, a heap.

So to anyone who cares, I offer a sneak peek at something I've begun putting together at the link So far all I've done is gather posts working backward from the final post in December all the way to, um, late October. And while I can report that I've also started compiling an index to posts, aimed at eventual incorporation with the old Sunday Classics Index that covered posts through July 11, 2010, at present it doesn't yet go back as far as October 2012. (In fact I haven't even posted it yet.)

One thing I can say is that in just the bit of work (or play) I've done so far with this bewildering mass of, er, stuff, I was kind of tickled to discover that there's a huge amount of really fabulous music here, and with a decent pair of headphones plugged into just the electronics of my home and office Macs, it sounds to me pretty darned good.

For tonight I thought I would add a couple of tidbits derived from that mammoth Berkshire Record Outlet order I mentioned receiving last month. Oh, I know! We'll do one bitty tid tonight, and then a slightly more extended one on Sunday. (Friday night-Sunday morning -- force of habit.)

Actually, we've already heard the "new" performance of the "Moonlight Interlude" from Richard Strauss's last opera, Capriccio, at the top of this post. As noted in the caption, it's from a broadcast performance of the opera conducted by the composer's friend and the opera's librettist, Clemens Krauss (1893-1954), from 1953, the year before he died, and four years after the composer (1864-1949) died. But in fact we've already heard the "Moonlight Interlude," which sets the stage for the final monologue of the Countess. We heard it conducted by Georges PrĂȘtre, Herbert von Karajan, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in one of my favorite posts, "Glimpses of the musical depths of Richard Strauss" from February 2010.

As I've explained, over the years I've put a lot of effort into Capriccio, and not gotten much in return. But the four minutes (at a moderate pace) of the "Moonlight Interlude" -- this is another matter. I can think of other music as beautiful, but nothing more beautiful. It's the kind of little piece that, as again I've mentioned in connection with such pieces as Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture, I can listen to over and over and over and . . . .

And I wound up pulling other performances off the shelf which we also haven't heard, including this honey from a 1985 Salzburg performance of the opera conducted by Horst Stein. Now while Stein (1928-2008) was a solid, utilitarian conductor of the German repertory, I don't think anyone would have accused him of harboring poetic tendencies. But my goodness, he sure nails this haunting tidbit.

R. STRAUSS: Capriccio, Op. 85: Moonlight Interlude

Vienna Philharmonic, Horst Stein, cond. Orfeo, recorded live at the Salzburg Festival, Aug. 7, 1985


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At 11:24 PM, Anonymous said...

Sorry to see you go.
When reading the blogs your interruptions with something cultural were always welcome.
I've bookmarked your new site and will add it to my normal string of sites as yet unseen and to be seen.

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous wjbill49 said...

say it ain't so!


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