Among Goethe’s dramas, Egmont stands practically unrivaled in its vibrant portrayal of protagonists faced with emotional anxieties and conflicts. For the convincing presentation of these states of heart and mind on the stage, the Prince of German Poets prescribed music for the key scenes as early as the work’s premiere. Now the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn under its new principal conductor Dirk Kaftan has set itself the task of performing Beethoven’s incidental music. The magnificent Matthias Brandt collaborated with the dramaturge Tilman Böttcher on this new version of the drama and renders his part with moving intensity.
The music without the drama? The drama without the music? Impossible – as the four entr’acte pieces functioning as hinges between the acts demonstrate! The “Victory Symphony” at the end refers to the final liberation of the Netherlands from Spanish rule – an event lying in the distant future and not even treated in the drama. As a result, the work as a whole assumes an absolutely revolutionary character very much in keeping with the Weimar master’s intentions.
The two songs assigned to Klärchen, Egmont’s beloved, lend her role a depth far transcending the limits of drama-without-music. The celebrated Vienna State Opera soloist Olga Bezsmertna marvelously and splendidly renders Klärchen’s raptures, energy, and devotion to Egmont in the world of the stage. Her “Pfeifchen” from the first song is employed at the end in the “Victory Symphony” – for guaranteed spine-tingling listening thrills!
The text and the music experience their most intimate union in the melodrama. In a heartstirring performance, Matthias Brandt’s Egmont first longs for sleep and then sees Klärchen’s spirit while dreaming! This Bonn production recorded in three-dimensional 2+2+2 sound and with the finest Super Audio CD technology conveys the live effect of theater experience and represents audiophile listening in the truest sense of the term!