Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Changing newspaper criticism: Der Rosenkavalier, 1911 and 2014

Julius Korngold in the Neue Freie Presse, 9 April 1911
Opening: Although his superior talents have caused him to be designated a leading musician, no one is less suited to this role than Richard Strauss. The Germans want a priest, someone who will champion an art that serves profound ends. Strauss is driven by the ego sensibility of the modern artist, who wants, first of all, to serve himself and his sensations. Living entirely in the present, in its tendencies and interests, he smiles sceptically or storms impatiently past the solemn demands of immortality. Thus the strange opposition of the critics when the Rosenkavalier appeared.

Michael Church, The Independent, 19 May 2014
Opening: 'Der Rosenkavalier' is a rather irritating farce...

And now, when she [the Marschallin] is alone with her 'boy', comes the melancholy that follows pleasure.
The Marschallin and her Cherub are suddenly breakfasting in Mozartian style; Frau Maria Theresa suddenly becomes pensive in the style of Lortzing.

The Marschallin is infatuated with sexy Octavian half her age. ... In the post-coital opening scene, Kate Royal, his Marschallin, stands stark naked and statuesque under the shower while Octavian gazes at her, transfixed by her virginal beauty.
[Quite an achievement to exhibit 'virginal beauty' in a 'post-coital' opening scene...]