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Golem/Arald Import


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 5 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Nimbus Records
  • ASIN: B0000037FS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

1. Golem: Intro - PO Moldova, Iasi/Cristian Mandeal
2. Golem: Leave Me Alone, Golem, Leave Me! - Alexandru Agache
3. Golem: I Looked Deep Into Her Eyes... - Alexandru Agache
4. Golem: I Cannot Change You Into A Man - Tamas Daroczy
5. Golem: I Formed You Of Clay... - Tamas Daroczy
6. Golem: Under The Earth, You Do Not Feel The Cold - Alexandru Agache
7. Golem: Did You Call Me? - Dan Zancu
8. Golem: No! I Won't Tear It Out! - Alexandru Agache
9. Golem: Why Don't You Give Me That Talisman? - Alexandru Agache
10. Golem: Peace To You, Dream Of The Human Mind - Sounds Of The Autumn Wind
11. Arald: Prologue- Arald On His Charger Sweeps... - Dan Zancu
12. Arald: To You, O Timeless Seer, Across The World I Ride... - Ionel Voineag
13. Arald: You Were Still But A Child - Alexandru Agache
14. Arald: My People Ceased Their March... - Ionel Voineag
15. Arald: Out Of The Heart Of Earth Let Man The Dead Awake... - Alexandru Agache
16. Arald: Come, Arald, Your Sweet Brow Against My Bosom Lean... - Sanda Sandru
17. Arald: Interlude - PO Moldova, Iasi/Cristian Mandeal
18. Arald: Lost Of All Eternity Within The Tomb's Constraint - Alexandru Agache

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Format: Audio CD
The Transylvanian composer Bretan had one of the grimmer lives of any notable composer - his wife's family were murdered in Auschwitz; his refusal in post-war Romania to become a Communist led to his silencing - but you wouldn't know it from either of these operas.
They are serious and solemn enough. 'Golem' takes the old story of a rampaging Frankenstein-type monster and turns it into a melancholy dialogue about life, science, creation, family. 'Arald', with its hero supplicating the Seer of the Underworld to resuscitate his dead love, forswears doomy Gothic in favour of more metaphysical musings.
From a dramatic point of view, both works are static. Musically, however, they are gloriously reminiscent of mid-period Verdi - bountifully melodic, rapturously sad - with an Eastern European flavour. The fact that an opera composer in the mid-20th century dared even write a TUNE is reason enough to rejoice.
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By A Customer on May 6 1999
Format: Audio CD
"Golem" is a one-act opera about the legendary clay man created by the Rabbi of Prague. The poignant libretto is by the composer. The music is beautiful and lyric, but has no memorable tunes. Stylistically, it is a bit like Rimsky-Korsakoff's operatic writing. "Arald" is not really an opera but a scenic cantata. It tells of the despair of the khan of the Avars over the loss of his wife. The gloom of both text and music put me off at first. On second hearing, I loved it! It is more tuneful than "Das Lied von der Erde" and has none of the dissonance of Bartok's "Duke Bluebeard's Castle", but the mood is similar.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Two short beautiful, somber lyric operas. May 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Golem" is a one-act opera about the legendary clay man created by the Rabbi of Prague. The poignant libretto is by the composer. The music is beautiful and lyric, but has no memorable tunes. Stylistically, it is a bit like Rimsky-Korsakoff's operatic writing. "Arald" is not really an opera but a scenic cantata. It tells of the despair of the khan of the Avars over the loss of his wife. The gloom of both text and music put me off at first. On second hearing, I loved it! It is more tuneful than "Das Lied von der Erde" and has none of the dissonance of Bartok's "Duke Bluebeard's Castle", but the mood is similar.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
More beautiful music than we'd any right to expect. Jan. 25 2001
By darragh o'donoghue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Transylvanian composer Bretan had one of the grimmer lives of any notable composer - his wife's family were murdered in Auschwitz; his refusal in post-war Romania to become a Communist led to his silencing - but you wouldn't know it from either of these operas.
They are serious and solemn enough. 'Golem' takes the old story of a rampaging Frankenstein-type monster and turns it into a melancholy dialogue about life, science, creation, family. 'Arald', with its hero supplicating the Seer of the Underworld to resuscitate his dead love, forswears doomy Gothic in favour of more metaphysical musings.
From a dramatic point of view, both works are static. Musically, however, they are gloriously reminiscent of mid-period Verdi - bountifully melodic, rapturously sad - with an Eastern European flavour. The fact that an opera composer in the mid-20th century dared even write a TUNE is reason enough to rejoice.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating double bill Nov. 22 2008
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Following on from my discovery of Bretan's "Evening star" ("Luceafarul" - see my review), I have been listening to a disc of some his songs and this opera double bill CD - both featuring the mellifluous baritone Alexandru Agache, more widely celebrated for his Verdi roles. The idiom here in "Golem" is very different from the other-worldly simplicity of "Luceafarul"; this is far more restless and melodramatic but, like that earlier opera, it is through-composed. It often uses elements of Klezmer music, with alternately wailing and joyful melodies. The overture, for example, presents a soulful, soaring theme for the violins (representing the clay-creature Golem's yearning for humanity) alternating with jollier trumpet and flute passages. Of course, the allusions to Klezmer are wholly appropriate for a legend centring on Rabbi Löw and the Golem - the Jewish predecessor to an idea more familiar to many as the "Frankenstein" story.

The standard of performance here is high: the orchestra is noticeably superior to that Nimbus recorded for "Luceafarul", the singers - especially Agache, of course - are of international standard and the sound quality is exemplary. This is a taut, compact, terrifying tale and would work very well in the theatre. As with Shelley's Creature, Bretan's music and Agache's interpretation of it makes Golem a figure arousing both fear and compassion. There is little action in either piece, but the music is full of variety and drama, and I disagree with the previous Amazon.com reviewer who claims that there are no memorable tunes; Anna's aria, an invocation to life and the sun, turns into a trio to end the work and suggests a melody that Mascagni or Leoncavallo might have written for one of their heroines.

"Arald", more of a cantata than an opera, is more lyrical, grand and static. It is a strange, ambiguous, pagan tale, based, like "Luceafarul", on a poem by Eminescu, dealing with the same desire for release from the pain and darkness of existence and into light and love. It is a rather sombre piece but imposingly sung and both melodic and short enough to sustain the listener's interest. The role of the Seer allows Agache in particular to show off his legato in broad, arcing phrases and there is a Wagnerian intensity in the love duet which has a pulsing quality reminiscent of the "Wesendonck Lieder".

I see no reason for these works to languish unperformed outside Romania; they would form a most entertaining double bill at, say, the English National Opera, though I doubt whether they would want to take the risk on the virtually unknown Bretan, whose music was considered retrogressive (i.e. tonal and melodic) even in its day.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully understated drama June 10 2005
By Allen A. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Despite a lack of big arias, Golem is a good opera. The singers in this production are very effective in conveying the inner tensions of their characters. Although there is little physical movement, the drama of Rabbi Judah Loeb confronting the monster he has created is intense.

The scenic cantata, Arald, is Bretan's masterpiece. It is a lyrical evocation of memory, despair, and resignation. Arald puts the listener through all of the emotional upheaval of Das Lied von der Erde in half of the time. This performance of Arald is as affecting as the best performances of Das Lied von der Erde that I have heard.
No hidden masterpieces here, even though the works are enjoyable enough Oct. 29 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Nimbus has really done the music of Nicolae Bretan (1887-1968) a great service - a service I'm not always convinced he really deserves. I really enjoyed the recording of his first opera, Luceafárul, but I have more mixed feelings about the two short one-acters here. They are indeed fascinating works, but the music - while often attractive - cannot avoid lapsing into banality more frequently than one would have hoped. The style is generally late-romantic with a touch of folk music, which more often than is comfortable becomes rhythmically boring with short-breathed melodic lines.

The story of Golem is well-known enough, though - as seems to be the case in most of Bretan's operas - the theme of humanity is omnipresent - with Golem being the most sympathetic character in the opera. He is also given several rather fine arias and solos, and Alexandru Agache is perhaps the most impressive singer among the cast, with a round tone, smooth legato and a deeply-felt performance overall. Unfortunately his counterpart, Sandra Sandru is not always easy on the ear, especially in louder passages, which are almost grating, and often harsh-sounding. Tamás Daróczy is no more than acceptable as the Rabbi Löw, whereas Dan Zancu's bass is mostly rather good (without having that much to do). Golem is overall a fine work with some inspired moments, not a masterpiece - far from it - but worth a listen.

The fifteen year later Arald, on the other hand, is less distinguished. The work is a rather simple love-story set in the underworld, and musically it consists of a sequence of arias culminating in an ecstatic duet (which is probably the most worthwhile item here). The music is serene, but passionate, and not particularly original or distinguished - which is nothing more than a nice way of indicating that it is pretty boring. The singing is rather good, however - the bass Zancu again has a warm-toned and attractive voice, and Agache reappears as an impressive seer. Jon Voineag's Arald has more passion than beauty of voice but Sandru is more compelling here than in Golem. It doesn't quite help. Bretan's attempts at pushing one climax after another becomes ingratiating, and the music is short-breathed and mostly wearisome. It is not helped, neither here nor in Golem by the sound of the orchestra - they play well enough under Cristian Mandeal, although the performances would have been improved, I suspect, with a little more thought about how to emphasize the longer lines to achieve more flow and better build-ups to the more important climaxes. The sound quality is a little constricted and unbalanced as well, which is certainly no asset.

I might have come across sounding harsher than I want to in this review. While neither of these works are, by any means, essential acquisitions, they - or at least Golem - are well worth hearing at least once, and the disc can certainly be recommended to adventurous lovers of late-romantic opera; just don't expect to find a hidden gem (and go for Luceafárul first if you don't already know it).


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