JOSEF ACHTÉLIK (1881-1965): Peterchens Mondfahrt.
Catalogue Number: 01Q043
Label: MDR Klassik
Reference: MDR 1401
Description: The classic German children's fairytale 'Peter and Anneli's Journey to the Moon' by Gerdt von Bassewitz was published as a book in 1915, with illustrations by Hans Baluschek, in which form it is still in print. But it had previously been produced as a two-hour stage play with music in Leipzig in 1912. This is a seventy-minute concert reconstruction of that production, with Achtélik's music restored. The story is a fanciful tale of two good children chosen to help retrieve the stolen leg of a violin-playing June bug from the moon. They encounter a series of fantastical characters and are aided in the rescue of the errant leg from the ferocious Moon Man by various natural forces. In this version, the tale is narrated, with illustrative scenes sung and acted, Achtélik's incidental music forming an integral part of the production, with some sung numbers and some orchestral episodes. The music is conservative post-Wagnerian Romanticism of some quality (with a couple of interpolated carols and Brahms' "Lullaby"); the most obvious comparison is Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel (though this is a play with music, not an opera), with which it has quite a bit in common. The booklet reproduces Baluschek's illustrations and documents related to the original publication and play, but no libretto (presumably one is encouraged to buy the book, which is also available in a recent English translation). No texts. Various vocal soloists, Middle German Radio Children's Choir, Middle German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ulrich Kaiser.