OP0051. DER TRAUMGÖRGE (von Zemlinsky), Live Performance, 1999, w. James Conlon Cond. Cologne Philharmonic & Cologne Academy of Music Opera Choir; Patricia Racette, David Kuebler, Andreas Schmidt, Julian Rodescu, Susan Anthony, Michael Volle, Lothar Odinius, Zelotes Edmund Toliver, Natalie Karl, John Pierce, Machiko Obata & Iride Martinez. (E.U.) 2-EMI 57087, Slipcase Edition w.Elaborate 149pp. Libretto-Brochure in German, French & English. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 724355708724
“DER TRAUMGÖRGE (Görge the Dreamer), Op. 11, is an opera in two acts and an epilogue by Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky. DER TRAUMGÖRGE was intended for performance at the Vienna State Opera (then known as the Vienna Court Opera), where Gustav Mahler, a mentor of Zemlinsky's, was musical director. Mahler had encouraged his younger colleague to compose the opera following the success of ES WAR EINMAL which Mahler had premiered in 1900. In 1907, the same year DER TRAUMGÖRGE was scheduled for performance, Mahler hired Zemlinsky to be an assistant conductor. Shortly thereafter, however, Mahler abruptly resigned and his successor, Felix Weingartner, dropped DER TRAUMGÖRGE from the schedule, even though the work had already gone into rehearsal. Zemlinsky himself then resigned in protest.
Zemlinsky moved on to other compositional projects and, deciding that DER TRAUMGÖRGE needed revision, made little effort to further promote it. The original performance materials were discovered in the archives of the Vienna State Opera in the 1970s, a period of renewed interest in Zemlinsky's music. This led to the opera's belated premiere at the Staatstheater Nürnberg, Germany, on 11 October 1980.
It was a cruel stroke of luck that Zemlinsky’s third opera DER TRAUMGÖRGE (Görge the Dreamer) was removed from rehearsal when Mahler had resigned his directorship of the Vienna Opera in 1907, with the result that it remained forgotten and unperformed until 1980 - 38 years after the composer’s death. It is a mature and entirely characteristic composition, inhabiting a similarly opulent post-Wagnerian sound-world to that of the ravishing orchestral fantasy DIE SEEJUNGFRAU. In essence the orchestra plays a central role in proceedings, weaving an elaborate thread of richly hued textures, none more magical than the closing scene of Act I. The plot, however, is difficult to fathom. What, for example, does one make of the central figure of Görge? In the first act he is portrayed as a mother-fixated simpleton obsessed with fairy-tales. Yet subsequently he is hailed as a rather implausible leader of revolutionary peasants, but abandons them when finding love with Gertraud, a woman reviled as a witch and an arsonist. This new and welcome addition to James Conlon’s extensive Zemlinsky series has distinct advantages over its predecessor, not least the inclusion of every note of the score (amounting to nearly 30 minutes more music) and a more naturally balanced recording which allows one to hear greater orchestral detail. The lyrical approach of Conlon is ultimately more satisfying in projecting the subtle allure of Zemlinsky’s music.”
-- Erik Levi, BBC Music
“James Conlon's quietly progressing Zemlinsky cycle took a mighty step forward with that enigmatic composer's opera DER TRAUMGÖRGE. Here is a work of enormous integrity that wears its Fin-de-siecle-isms lightly, balancing between the stylistic worlds of Humperdinckian fairy opera and the overwrought sex dramas of Schreker. The cast, led by David Kuebler and Susan Anthony, is much more solid than in the work's only other recording (Capriccio), and the cuts in that previous release are here opened up, revealing a work of greater sweep and dramatic energy.”
- Christopher Williams, FANFARE, Nov. / Dec., 2001