ROLF LIEBERMANN (1910-1999): La Forêt.
Catalogue Number: 12M065
Label: Musiques Suisses
Reference: MGB CD 6266
Description: "The Forest" is based on Alexander Ostrovski's 1870 satirical comedy on the conflict between bourgeois mores and obsession with money, and the 'pure' life of the artist, a subject that resonated with the composer, whose own background embodied this very clash of ideals. Liebermann's music, and Hélène Vida's libretto, are modeled on the 18th-century opera buffa tradition, as befits a comedy of manners, false identities and questionable motives hidden by subterfuges (penniless and disreputable artists pretend to be military officers to gain respectability, besotted lovers pretend affection for more appropriate partners and the like). Liebermann's musical vocabulary does not emulate that of earlier centuries, though it is resolutely tonal and melodic, with clean, transparent and economical orchestration and lyrical vocal lines which pay tribute to the bel canto tradition. The music is unmistakably of the 20th century (aside from some amusing quotations from earlier works as a singer boasts of his stage successes), especially in its lively use of colorful percussion, but remains throughout entirely accessible and entertaining. French libretto. Anne Howells (mezzo), Michal Shamir (soprano), Jean-Philippe Courtis (bass-baritone), Ricardo Cassinelli (tenor), Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; Jeffrey Tate. Ralph van Raat (piano).