CARL UNANDER-SCHARIN (b.1964): The King of Fools.
Catalogue Number: 09N085
Reference: CAP 22046
Description: Unander-Scharin's opera is based on Elgard Jonsson's account of his experiences as a schizophrenic - one of the relatively rare ones who emerge from the condition able to give an account of the strange, detached alternative reality they had previously inhabited (the vivid matter-of-fact descriptions of utterly bizarre delusions and constructs recall a similar book - that by Howard Ogdon, father of the famed pianist). The protagonist's beliefs and interactions with people - both who they are and whom he believes them to be - are skilfully depicted in a text that veers from the mundane to the outlandish, featuring characteristic traits of schizophrenic thinking - obsessive repetition, grandiosity and unperceived, grinding contradictions, mirrored in music that likewise juxtaposes marches and cabaret music and obsessive ostinati in a predominantly tonal vocabulary, with frankly atonal, chaotic material, further distanced from normality by the strategic introduction of quarter-tone material. This sense of detachment is emphasized by subtle electroacoustic effects and the presence of a synthesizer in the ensemble, with its ability to vary its timbre and resonance so ad to stand apart from the acoustic instruments even as it interacts with them. The work is successful on many levels in providing a key to the schizophrenic's world, internally terrifyingly logical, and unimaginably distant from ours. 2 CDs. Swedish-English libretto. Mats Persson (baritone), Anna Larsson (alto), Carolina Bengsdotter-Ljung (mezzo), John Erik Eleby (bass), chamber orchestra; Michael Bartosch.