OP0503. DAS PARADIES UND DIE PERI (Schumann), recorded 2005, w. Nikolaus Harnoncourt Cond. Bavarian RSO & Chorus; Dorothea Röschmann, Christian Gerhaher, Bernarda Fink, Werner Güra, etc. 2-RCA 27155, w.31pp. Libretto-Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 886972715520
“The Bavarian Radio Orchestra is a high-personality ensemble with a sweet, compact sound. Its hallmark is giving the conductor and music at hand everything they might need. And it is the group to which great conductors take their more unorthodox recording projects.
The crown of the orchestra's recent discography is Nikolaus Harnoncourt's outing with Schumann's increasingly popular DAS PARADIES UND DIE PERI. This music can seem nonspecifically pretty, but not with the Chorus of the Bavarian Radio responding to Harnoncourt as if each individual were responsible for the performance's success. Ditto for the orchestra, which seems happy to frame the chorus and solo vocalists while revealing the layers of Schumann's sometimes-problematic orchestration.”
- David Patrick Stearns, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
“As the SANTA FE LISTENER notes in its review, DAS PARADIES UND DIE PERI was a huge success for Schumann, and remained as such until the Nazis used it for propaganda in the 20th Century. Like most everything they touched, it turned to critical poison afterwards and the work has yet to recover. This is a real shame for numerous reasons. The first and most simple reason is that this is a gorgeous work, full of some of the best melodies and orchestra textures Schumann ever conjured. Indeed, after several listens I'm starting to find this work even more rewarding than his symphonies and the more appreciated (though still underrated) Scenes from Goethe's FAUST. The second reason is that this was the only significant success Schumann had in his lifetime in the realm of large-scale vocal works….All of this really leaves PERI as Schumann's most accessible, enjoyable, and perhaps overall best large-scale vocal work….
I've been a fan of Dorothea Röschmann since hearing her as the Countess in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO and Pamina in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. She is a perfectly voiced Peri, bringing the same level of effortless innocence and naive beauty that she brought out in her portrayal of Pamina and The Countess. Bernarda Fink is also a lovely Angel, who brings a level of wisdom to that character to contrast well with Roschmann's Peri…. I`ve got acquainted with this masterpiece when searching for Christian Gerhaher's CDs. Unfortunately his role is quite small. In part one he sings as an Indian tyrant Gazna one short but powerful aria and also in some quartets. And I`m very happy about his two bigger and very beautiful arias in part three, which he sings utmost soulfully…. Naturally I would love to hear Christian Gerhaher a bit more but even so this recording makes me happy with its enjoyable beauty and perfect quality….Ultimately, this is a work that deserves far more attention than it has received since the 20th century….DAS PARADIES UND DIE PERI is one of Robert Schumann's greatest works. When he completed it after some two years work he valued it as his best. The libretto is also written by him together with his friend Emil Flechsig. He had as a child read the oriental epic LALLA ROOKH by the Irish poet Thomas Moore and later started planning to turn it into an opera.”
- Z. D. Akron
“Bernarda Fink had considerable local success in Argentina before beginning to achieve international attention as a mezzo-soprano in the late 1990s. She was born to a Slovenian family in Buenos Aires.
In 1985 she won the country's Nuevas Voces Liricas (New Lyrical Voices) Competition, leading to her moving to Europe where she began a notable concert career. She has appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the French Radio Philharmonic, the French National Orchestra, the Orchestra of Suisse Romande, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the New Japan Philharmonic. She also sings with chamber and original instrument groups such as I Solisti Veneti, the English Baroque Soloists, Les Musiciens du Louvre, and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. She is also an active recital singer, including an appearance at the New York Festival of Song in Carnegie Hall.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com