Heinrich August Marschner: Ripe for Reevaluation

Heinrich Marschner at one time was the most important opera composer in Germany. But thanks to the trash compacter of history, he’s been reduced to a historical footnote. That footnote being the leading German opera composer between Weber and Wagner.

Marschner’s music isn’t delivering any Great Cosmic Truths like Wagner’s attempts to do. But it was never meant to. Marschner created music that entertained. More importantly, he created music of substance that entertained. 

He had a natural gift for melody and for drama. These overtures pull you along and gear you up for the beginning of Act One. 

Dario Salvi seems to be building a career reexamining theater music dismissed by music history. And his instincts have served him (and audiences) well. He leads the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice in some spirited performances. 

I found this collection to be both entertaining and enlightening. Entertaining, because if you love Offenbach, you’ll find a lot to like here. And enlightening, because I found there was much more to this composer than the term “transitional” suggests.

Heinrich August Marschner: Overtures and Stage Music, Vol. 1
Ali Baba; Schön Ella; Der Kyffhäuser Berg; Der Holzdieb; Die Wiener in Berlin
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice; Dario Salvi, conductor
Naxos 8.574449

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