ROBERT SAXTON (b.1953): The Wandering Jew.

Catalogue Number: 10N079

Label: NMC

Reference: D170

Format: CD

Price: $29.98

Description: Saxton's treatment of the mythic archetype of the Wandering Jew - to his own libretto - was conceived with the technical resources of radio in mind, though as the composer notes, it could certainly be staged live. In eight scenes, the eternal observer, powerless to intervene, interacts with myths throughout history, and is inserted into historical events yet to be explained by myth, up to the unexplainable horror of the Nazi death camps. Symbolic figures from various myths - Faust, Mephistopheles, Kundry, Odin - appear, and the action reflects the Wandering Jew's sense of history, from the early days of Christianity to 11th century Spain, 18th century Venice and the 20th century. Saxton's vocabulary is unequivocally tonal, though structurally organized on serial principles, a 7-note set determining the pitch centers of successive sections. Sparingly used but highly effective electroacoustic enhancements are employed at key moments in the narrative, but overall the powerful storytelling falls to conventional forces; the finely characterised solo roles and detailed, opulent orchestration, with its skilful resonances of past musical treatments of the satellite myths of the libretto. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Roderick Williams (baritone), Teresa Cahill (soprano), Hilary Summers, (mezzo), Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts (tenor), BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra; AndrĂ© de Ridder.

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