an interview with Maestro|
7. Gerd Albrech
Yomiuri Nippon Synphony Orchestra
You have recorded these Schreker's two operas, "Der Ferne Klang" and "Die Schatzgraeber". |
Have you any particular reason why you recorded these operas ?
When I was very young, middle of my twenties, I fought for Gustav Mahler.|
With my thirties, I fought for the second wiener school, Schoenberg, Berg and Webern.
And the end of the fights, I made TV movies about Schoenberg, Berg and Webern. I won the Grim-prize, which is highly regarded as German TV artistic prize.
And then, I started all these neglected persons, ( besides Schoenberg, Berg, Webern), Schreker, Zemlinsky, Korngold and Hindemith.
This is the reason.
I also did "Die Gezeichneten" in Saltzburg in 1982, which was the great summit, no recording though, this was the start of Schreker's renaissance, "Die Schatzgraeber" in Frankfurt and Humburg, "Der Ferne Klang" first recording in Berlin, and famous performance in Wien.
I listened to these two operas by your recordings, and I was very impressed.|
I think Schreker's operas are so wonderful pieces, but other conductors have never put them on.
Do you know the reason why other people aren't performing these wonderful pieces today ?
There are four reasons.|
Today it's extremely difficult to perform Schreker's operas, because you need these voices of "The Wagner" sopranos and "The Wagner" tenors.
It's natural from the view of singers, while they are busy singing Wagner all over the world, why should they care for such staffs for Schreker.
I was very happy, you see, because Gabriere Schnaut, Thomas Moser singing in my recordings. Gabriere Schnaut is now regarded as "The dramatic" soprano, but she is very intelligent and she did this!
The second reason is, Schreker is regarded as, let me say this stupid word, "modern" composer.
He is regarded like Schoenberg, but he should be regarded like Richard Strauss, because during Schreker's lifetime, he was the strongest opera composer in the world besides Strauss. And sometimes he was more popular than Strauss in performances all of Europe.
The third reasons is, you will find in the life of lots of great composers and great artists, some age which is very strong, for instance, young Medelssohn, young Hindemith and young Hugo von Hofmannsthal. When they were only sixteen or eighteen, they were really genius, but then fell down.
For me, Richard Strauss was same. "Salome", "Elektra", but "Der Rosenkavalier" ...., but you shouldn't say that, because Strauss fan would kill you ! Schreker is one of these persons, when he wrote these "Der Ferne Klang", "Die Schatzgraeber" and "Gezeichneten" it was really great time. And then "Der Schmied von Gent" and "Christophorus"..., he declined.
The fourth reason is, the third Reich and Hitler.
They destroyed him, they destroyed his health. Before he died by hurt attack, he had to resign as the director of academy of Berlin.
He was destroyed by the political system.
After the Second World War, Theodor Adorno, the admirer of Schoenberg, who was one of the mightiest person in artistic life in Europe, detested the music of Zemlinsky, Schreker, Korngold, "terrible stuff !"
|There were composers of same generation, such as Bussoni, Zemlinsky, which could say same things.|
Bussoni has same reasons. He didn't fit for Schoenberg's school, he didn't fit for Nazis.
|You said about the social background, of course we know when he wrote "Der Ferne Klang", there wasn't any attack from others. But do you think in this opera there are any trace of this kind of tendency ?|
|Albrecht||No. Not yet at all.|
|Well, talking about the piece of "Der Ferne Klang". What is this naming ?|
You see all these librettos, all these scenes are strongly connected with decaying nineteenth century.|
Sigmund Freud, who was extremely important, and the way Freud explored the world of "the dreams" as one of mightiest world in life of manhood, is extremely directing thoughts and librettos of as "Der Ferne Klang", as "Die Schatzgraeber", as "Die Gezeichneten".
Naturally, it's not sane world, but it is very interesting in artistic.
|Do you mean that Grete was "the dream" for Fritz ?|
|At the end of the opera Fritz died, so some people can understand there is no salvation, but probably finally because he discovered found "Der Ferne Klang".|
|Albrecht||Yes, he fulfilled his life. Sure|
But Grete was left behind, and this is the tragedy. Like in "The bluebird" or "Peer Gynt", a man is always satisfied and enjoyed his life, but a woman always left behind.|
So we may recognize that "Der Ferne Klang" is a tragedy of Grete ?
Right. This is the way of life !|
And it's naturally women are much more interesting than men, so if you have look in operas, you will always recognize women, in all Grueck's operas, "Iphigenie", "Alceste", "Armide", in all Mozart's operas, are much more interesting concerning with women than men. Beethoven's "Leonore", "Carmen" and all Wagner's operas.
The main figure of "Der Ring" is not Wotan. It's Bruenhilde. And all Strauss's operas, "Salome", "Elektra", "Der Rosenkavalier", "Ariadne", "Ohne Schatten" and "Daphne".
Always women, women, women. They are much more interesting than men.
Then we are too !
How do you think about the character of "Die Alte" (old woman) in "Der Ferne Klang" ?|
I have discussed with Ms. Chieko Teratani, mezzo-soprano, who will sing "Die Alte" this time, about this wonderful character in the first act of this opera.
We talk about "Die Hexe" and "Der Sandmaennchen" in "Haensel und Gretel" by Humperdinck. Which character is similar to "Die Alte" ?
No, neither of them.|
You know Shakespeare always used "the fool" in his tragedies. One actor who is considered as being fool, but the fool really only knows the truth, and he uses a mirror when he demonstrated to actors and actresses, "Look in the mirror, this is the true life, this is you face".
This "Die Alte" is the same way of handling theater. She takes a mirror to main persons, and say "this is the true life".
This is my opinion. Some people say Albrecht is the fool ( the only who talks the truth ) !
Interview ; at Hotel Ohkura, Akasaka, Tokyo. January 23, 2000.|
Translator; Ms Rika Hosoya.
Thanks for YOMIURI NIPPON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, for giving opportunity of interview with maestro Albrecht.