Saturday, 7 May 2011

Berlioz Damnation of Faust not ENO full download

After the depressingly superficial ENO Gilliam The Damnation of Faust at ENO last night, I need to hear the piece as music again.  First and above all, it's not an opera.  The drama is in the music rather than in the actions, however fantastical they may be. Even the arias are vignette set pieces rather than truly interactive relationships between the singers. Though Berlioz's vivid non verbal exuberance doesn't limit possible stagings, it  doesn't mean that it can be submerged in another story. This music isn't soundtrack. It "is" the drama. I can imagine wondrous film versions of this music which let the imagination do things with Berlioz's music no stage production could possibly manage. But visuals would come from the music rather than impose themselves over the music. Fundamentally Faust is an adventure in metaphysics : narrowing its focus turns it into comic book.

Anyway, HERE is a link to another non commercial recording of Berlioz The Damnation of Faust with Nicolai Gedda, who created the role many times. Marilyn Horne, Roger Soyer, Georges Prêtre conducting. Rome, 1969. COMPLETE download, and links to libretto in French. And if you want more, HERE is a link to a complete download of the original Faust movie from 1926 - F W Murnau's classic.  The more you get into the Faust legend, and its ramifications, the less you can tolerate infantile trivia. Please also see this on Boulezian, wonderful analysis.

1 comment:

Mark Berry said...

Whilst it is no bad thing to be open-minded about such things, the more I think about it, the more I think the work is better left unstaged. It might, like Mahler's symphonies, have points of contact with musical drama - what doesn't, when one thinks about it? - but that doesn't mean such works need to be staged, or even benefit from staging. As you say, 'the drama is in the music'. Doubtless, though, it will only be a matter of time before we have a staged Mahler Eighth...