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Neither Opera [Import]

Feldman , Beckett , Bavarian Radio So , Ryan Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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4.0 out of 5 stars murmurs and coughs April 25 2001
By A Customer
There are 2 recordings of this "opera" available on CD. Both are of good quality, and rather similar concerning the interpretation. However, the live recording in the present CD is from a technical point of view not as good as the version with Sarah Leonard (soprano), and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Zoltan Pesko (Hat ART 102). I recommend this CD if you love this music and already have the Hat ART recording, or as a less optimal but still good alternative if you cannot find that one.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars opera for those who can't stand opera Feb. 4 2006
By Zachary A. Hanson - Published on Amazon.com
In an interview, Feldman speaks of how both he and Beckett can't stand opera. This is the result of a crossing of a "note man," as Feldman terms himself, and a word man, Beckett, who are of this frame of mind. Words are barely intelligible here, reminding one of the "unspeakable home" of Beckett's piece. The music is more or less as haunting as music could be, slipping in and out of tempo in absolutely unpredictable fashion. This is a work that makes the listener question music itself, absolutely appropriate as Beckett's works make a reader question literature itself. Feldman is so faithful to the feel of Beckett's text that it seems nothing is happening here as the music moves at a glacial pace for the majority of the opera. As the case is with Beckett's work, you finish the piece and your mind is swimming with possible interpretations.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feldman and Beckett unite! June 3 2005
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Morton Feldman wanted Samuel Beckett to write something for him to set to music, and he pestered Beckett until he did. NEITHER is the result, a 50-minute work for soprano voice and orchestra. While it was commissioned and premiered by the Rome Opera (in 1977), it is not an opera - it has no story, no mise-en-scene, nothing but a singer and the orchestra.

The text is 16 short lines expressing Beckett's (and Feldman's) existential view: "from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself by way of neither." The way it is sung, the words are incomprehensible -- for the most part the syllables are drawn out, sung in a monotone. The orchestral music will sound familiar to anyone who has heard Feldman's COPTIC LIGHT (1985) or FOR SAMUEL BECKETT (1987), both superb works in my opinion.

I have a confession to make. I have not heard the Col Legno live version of NEITHER. I have the first recording, from 1990, issued in 1998 on the hat[now]ART label. Sarah Leonard is the soprano, and Zoltan Pesko conducts the Frankfurt Radio-Symphony Orchestra. I am giving this more recent live recording 5 stars, but I don't know how it compares. What I can say, which you might not know otherwise, is that NEITHER is definitely worth hearing.

I'm pretty sure the hat[now]ART version is still available, and Col Legno has produced many fine recordings of avant-garde music, so you can be confident that this one is no exception. Their more recent recording of Feldman's VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA in the Musica Viva live series, for instance, is outstanding (see my review).
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