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Peace Concert Versailles

Elsa: Dreisig Ekaterina Gubanova

CD  |  Classical  |  20 Mar 2020


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Elsa Dreisig, Ekaterina Gubanova Peace Concert Versailles CD




Commemorative albums, whether festive or serious, rarely go beyond ritual observances, but this concert, held at the Versailles opera house on the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice, is different. It's a unique sequence of works that approaches the phenomenon of war from different perspectives, falling into a roughly chronological sequence and making a strong emotional impact.

One might question some of the interpretive choices made by conductor Franz Welser-Möst, leading the Wiener Philharmoniker. Although the Mozart's Overture to "The Magic Flute, K. 620," is supposed to be there to exemplify humanist values, Welser-Möst takes it at an oddly blistering clip, but then the more specific program begins. Debussy's set of "Sirènes," in line with the ominous prewar mood of this work, are jittery indeed, and this inaugurates the long emotional arc of the program as it leads through Holst and Wagner. Ravel's "Piano Concerto for the Left Hand" shows the impact of war from a different direction: its dedicatee, Paul Wittgenstein, had an arm amputated during the war. Pianist Yuja Wang delivers both a commanding performance and a lot of star power here, but it might have added to the album's effect had a one-armed pianist been chosen: several remain active.

However, Welser-Möst just gets better and better from here on out. Vaughan Williams' little choral "Dirge for Two Veterans" brings a somber mood, and the Agnus Dei from Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis, Op. 123," is extraordinarily powerful. Welser-Möst seems to solve the nagging conundrum of the work's inconclusive ending, echoed by Ives' "The Unanswered Question." That's not a work that referred to war at all when it was written, and it's much less often heard in Europe than in the U.S., but it makes an impressive finale here. A very fine recording of its kind.


Title: Peace Concert Versailles

Format: CD

Release Date: 20 Mar 2020

Artist: Elsa: Dreisig Ekaterina Gubanova

Sku: 2462641

Catalogue No: 4837510

Category: Classical



1. The Unanswered Question (I & II), for trumpet, winds & string orchestra, S. 50 (K. 1C25)

2. Mass for soloists, chorus & orchestra in D major ("Missa Solemnis"), Op. 123: Presto

3. Mass for soloists, chorus & orchestra in D major ("Missa Solemnis"), Op. 123: Allegro assai

4. Mass for soloists, chorus & orchestra in D major ("Missa Solemnis"), Op. 123: Dona nobis pacem. Allegretto vivace

5. Mass for soloists, chorus & orchestra in D major ("Missa Solemnis"), Op. 123: Agnus Dei. Adagio

6. Dona Nobis Pacem, cantata for soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra: No. 4: Dirge for Two Veterans. Moderato alla marci

7. Piano Concerto in D major (for the left hand), M. 82

8. Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d: Funeral March

9. The Planets, suite for orchestra & female chorus, Op. 32, H. 125: No. 1 Mars, the Bringer of War

10. Sirènes, for female chorus & orchestra (Nocturne No. 3), L. 98/3 (91/3)

11. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620: Overture