PETER EÖTVÖS (b.1944): Halleluja - Oratorium Balbulum for Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Narrator, Chorus and Orchestra (Iris Vermilion [mezzo], Topi Lehtipuu [tenor], Matthias Brandt [narrator], WDR Radio Choir, WDR Symphony Orchestra; Peter Eötvös), Alle vittime senza nome for Orchestra (Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome; Antonio Pappano).
Catalogue Number: 12V054
Reference: WER 7386 2
Description: Halleluja is a satirical meta-oratorio, meaning a Kagelian work in which the protagonists - angels, a stammering prophet, and a narrator (who introduces himself "I am the Narrator. My chattiness is of a structural nature and therefore an unimprovable imperfection") understand that they are characters in a drama, and interact accordingly, sometimes ‘breaking the fourth wall' to address the audience directly (and humorously, to judge by the audible reactions in this live recording). The piece has a serious undertone too, as increasingly the chorus becomes less a vehicle for praise and more a commentator on contemporary politics and society. Many quotations from the repertoire of oratorios and other classical and romantic works are incorporated along the way, and the piece opens and closes with Schumann's "Prophet Bird" to highlight its thesis that "Nowadays, it is almost impossible to be a prophet because everything is unpredictable ...". The oratorio's prophet protagonist is Notker Babulus, a 9th century Benedictine monk known as Notker the Stammerer. Alle vittime senza nome is the ideal coupling, because in this substantial orchestral 'requiem', Eötvös offers a memorial for the many refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean - exactly the kind of contemporary tragedy to which prophecy was blind. The music is more typical of Eötvös' usual style than Halleluja, mining a rich vein of extended post-Bartókian tonality along with driving rhythmic insistence, rather than contrasting modernism and anachronism in the service of its message. No texts.