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Keiser: Croesus Box set


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 17 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: SRI Canada
  • ASIN: B00004ZD64
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #206,828 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Sinf Avanti L'opera Croesus - Akademie Fur Alte Musik Berlin/Rene Jacobs
2. Act I, Scene I. Coro: Croesus Herrsche, Croesus Lebe - RIAS-Kammerchor/Knabensolisten Knabenchor Hannover
3. Act I, Scene I. Recitativo: Ihr Edlen Lydier - Roman Trekel
4. Act I, Scene I. Aria: Prangt Die Allerschonste Blume - Roman Trekel
5. Act I, Scene II. Aria: Hoffe Noch, Gekranktes Herz! - Dorothea Roschmann
6. Act I, Scene II. Recitativo: Du Weisst, Wie Cyrus' Macht - Dorothea Roschmann
See all 31 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act II, Scene I. Ritornello - Akademie Fur Alte Musik Berlin/Rene Jacobs
2. Act II, Scene I. Duetto: Kleine Voglein, Die Ihr Springet - RIAS-Kammerchor/Knabensolisten Knabenchor Hannover
3. Act II, Scene II. Recitativo: Orsanes Treulos? - Werner Gura
4. Act II, Scene III. Recitativo: Seht, Wie Herr Elcius Ist Ein Politicus... - Kurt Azesberger
5. Act II, Scene III. Ballett Von Bauren Und Bauren-Kindern - Akademie Fur Alte Musik Berlin/Rene Jacobs
6. Act II, Scene IV. Duetto: Freundliche Liebe, Wie Freust Du Mein Herz! - Dorothea Roschmann/Salome Haller
See all 29 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Act III, Scene I. Aria: Die Flamme Steigt - Klaus Hager
2. Act III, Scene I. Recitativo: Find' Ich Orsan So Fruh/Act III, Scene II. Aria... - Markus Schafer/Graham Pushee
3. Act III, Scene II. Recitativo: Ermin, Wie Ist Es Abgegangen? - Klaus Hager
4. Act III, Scene III. Recitativo: Der Himmel Sei Gepreist/Aria: Fuhlst Du Noch Der Liebe Kerzen - Dorothea Roschmann
5. Act III, Scene III. Recitativo: Schonstes Kind, Du Irrest Dich - Klaus Hager
6. Act III, Scene IV. Recitativo: Der Abgesandte Bringt Vom Feinde - Markus Schafer
See all 27 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Reinhard who? You may well ask. The passing years haven't been too kind to the man who, in his obituary (he died in 1739), was described as "the greatest opera composer in the world". And he was up against the likes of Handel, so the competition wasn't exactly soft. Unlucky for him, his music went out of fashion the moment he died, and then the prudes of the 19th century dismissed him on the basis of alleged dubious morality. So most of his operas (he composed more than 60) have been lost. Enter René Jacobs, knight in shining armour with a zeal for righting musical injustices. And we are certainly in his debt for this: Croesus is a masterly work. Admittedly you won't find the sublime arias with which Handel liked to adorn his operas but it's a good story (all the riches and glory in the world won't necessarily make you happy) which contains all the ingredients--heroic drama, star-crossed lovers and comedy--for a great night at the theatre. It also avoids the stop-go feeling of some baroque opera, precisely because it's not held up by long, eloquent arias in the Handelian mould. The singers and instrumentalists are, without exception, excellent, particularly Roman Trekel in the title role, the wonderful Dorothea Röschmann as Elmira (who loves Croesus's son, Atis) and Werner Güra in the role of Atis. It's no accident that this recording was made shortly after performing the work live--it really fizzes. If you like baroque opera in any shape or form then give this a go. Three discs for the price of two and an exemplary booklet containing texts, translations and an all-important synopsis. --Harriet Smith

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
An absolute first rate production of a first rate baroque opera unveiled from obscurity after almost three centuries. A must buy for all discriminating lovers and scholars of musical drama. Rene Jacobs' masterful shaping of the period instrument orchestra is perfect from the very first note of the overture to the final chorus. The powerfully poetic libretto is treated by the great master composer from the Hamburg opera era of the early 18th Century, Reinhard Keiser. The singing by a brilliant cast could not be better. I have seen this history-making production live in Berlin, and the spacious sets and visceral period stage effects combined with all of the above helped to place a permanent milestone in my memory. You will never regret this purchase!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Beyond five stars!!! April 10 2001
By Michael S. Holmes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
An absolute first rate production of a first rate baroque opera unveiled from obscurity after almost three centuries. A must buy for all discriminating lovers and scholars of musical drama. Rene Jacobs' masterful shaping of the period instrument orchestra is perfect from the very first note of the overture to the final chorus. The powerfully poetic libretto is treated by the great master composer from the Hamburg opera era of the early 18th Century, Reinhard Keiser. The singing by a brilliant cast could not be better. I have seen this history-making production live in Berlin, and the spacious sets and visceral period stage effects combined with all of the above helped to place a permanent milestone in my memory. You will never regret this purchase!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A little-known but absolutely superb Baroque opera Aug. 30 2004
By Senior Citizen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am in total agreement with reviewer Holmes' review. It is a pity that following Keiser's death in 1739 almost all of his work was lost. I purchased this work because I had read somewhere that Keiser was Handel's teacher, and this work was produced by Rene Jacobs. Therefore I knew it would be a hit. This is superb music sung by absolutely great singers including one of my very favorites, Dorothea Roschmann. Anyone who is a lover of Baroque opera should have this work in his or her collection.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A incredible recording. Simply fantastic! Sept. 12 2006
By Steven Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
From time to time, René Jacobs seems to outdo himself and he brings a work so vividly to life that the result is simply awesome. He did it with Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria, Telemann's Orpheus, Cavalli's La Calisto and Giasone, Handel's Flavio and Rinaldo and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Of course, many will be only too aware of the fact that René Jacobs is an inveterate fiddler and meddler with scores and, yes, there has been some invasion of Keiser's score here. However, the results are so impressive that these "muck abouts" are hardly worth commenting upon.

The cast of this recording is first class: Dorothea Röschmann, Werner Güra and Roman Trekel shine in particular, but all the cast is strong. Nice to see the famous Australian countertenor, Graham Pushee, in the cast, too. The RIAS-Kammerchor and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin make great noises. The period instrument orchestra is radiant throughout this recording. Keiser was a first class composer and I only hope more conductors are tempted to record his music in future. I can understand why Handel plundered and plagiarised Reinhard Keiser's music so often and so shamelessly.

This is a perfect recording of a Baroque opera. If you have any interest in Baroque opera at all, please consider this marvellous recording.

Just one word about the cover. We see a beautiful colour photograph from the stage production of this work. The whole package is excellent, apart from HARMONIA MUNDI's pointless "blurb" (a quote from a review) on the back cover, and this is how music like this should be presented.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Essential Baroque Opera to Purchase May 5 2006
By Robert M. Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is my first exposure to the music of Reinhard Keiser and I am impressed. I love Baroque opera, Handel and Vivaldi in particular, and if you do too you owe it to yourself to purchase this very reasonably priced example of exquisite and heartfelt music. Though the arias tend to be brief the music is so infectious that you hardly care. Since most operas are in Italian it's also nice to hear the German language sung as a welcome change of pace. And the singing is top-notch. The conductor Rene Jacobs seems to turn everything he touches into gold and this opera is no exception. If you're a fan of Baroque vocal music purchase this set of three CDs NOW!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Another 'must buy' for lovers of Baroque opera July 15 2007
By Eric Erwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With "Croesus" Renè Jacobs creates another masterful and delightful recording of an important Baroque opera, written by a wonderful but now forgotten composer. Reinhard Keiser directed and composed for the influential Hamburg public opera house from 1696 until 1707, and in his career is credited with writing about 80 operas, most of which are now lost. "Croesus" was one of his most influential and popular works. It was from Keiser that Handel got his chance to make a big splash with his first Italian opera ("Almira") in Hamburg, and after hearing this recording listeners will immediately detect the tremendous influence that Keiser had on the young Saxon. (Handel later borrowed many Keiser melodies and ideas for his own works). While the recitatives and arias are sung in German, the numerous arias, duets and ensembles (forty-four on 3 discs!) are a rich fusion of the Italian da capo style with the German preference for drama over vocal fireworks. Several arias are accompanied by horns as well as strings and woodwinds, a device Handel would later use to great effect in operas like "Rinaldo" and "Radamisto." Listeners will understand why Christopher Hogwood, in his 1984 biography of Handel, described Keiser as the "most gifted opera composer in Germany" because of his "sensitive flow of drama." Unlike operas in the Italian style, Keiser's music and arias are much more firmly matched to the action, and the arias emphasize feeling and emotion over vocal agility. The arias themselves are quite beautiful and melodic, and vary in length between a minute and a half and five or so minutes. Thankfully, the recording engineers separated the recitatives and arias on different tracks so that you can hear only the arias if you wish. Modern listeners who are put-off by Baroque opera because of counter-tenors in the leading roles and wild vocal improvisations will find much more to like in this recording. The male lead character is a baritone (sung by Roman Trekel), and Dorothea Roschmann sings the female lead ("Elmira") with deep and loving sensitivity... both singers are allowed to shine under Jacob's masterful direction. There is only one counter-tenor role: it is sung by the veteran Graham Pushee, and his voice fits well within Keiser's dramatic emphasis. There are numerous tenor, soprano, and baritone roles in the opera as well, all sung by gifted artists. There is not one weak or irritating voice in the lot! Another sparkling gem on this recording is the incidental music: the exciting overture (lots or horns and timpani here!), several ballets (the ballet of the soldiers is especially nice), and the use of almost modern-like use of the orchestra to provide sounds effects for the action. The opening of the second act features birds singing outside of a peasant hut, which are then slowly and gradually joined by the violins and recorders accompanying their songs, followed by a charming duet sung by a peasant woman and her husband which builds upon the previous melodies. Highly recommended, and a fantastic addition to anyone's collection!


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