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Dvořák - Armida (1996)

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Dvořák - Armida (1996)

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CD 1:
1. Vorspiel 00:05:41
Act I
2. Scene 1: Jak z dervisovych prstu rinou (Chorus, Muezzin) 00:05:06
3. Scene 2: Co znamena trub hlahol vystrazny (Hydraot, Ismen) 00:06:40
4. Scene 2: Lsti zvitezis; Ty zjevne neobrojis (Ismen, Hydraot) 00:04:58
5. Scene 3: Za Stihlou Gazelou (Armida, Hydraot, Ismen) 00:03:53
6. Scene 3: Slys Armido! (Hydraot, Armida, Ismen) 00:06:06
7. Scene 3: Odesel, jen se mih (Armida, Hydraot, Ismen) 00:06:26

Act II
8. Vorspiel 00:01:06
9. Scene 1: Pri telu tvem, jez knez vys vznasi (Chorus, Peter) 00:02:49
10. Scene 2-4: Dost v pousti toho otaleni (Gernand, Roger, Dudo, Sven, Ubald) 00:03:51
11. Scene 5: Ha, Zpatky! (Wachsoldaten, Chorus, Armida, Dudo) 00:01:36
12. Scene 5: O, srdce, ztis svuj tlukot smely (Armida) 00:04:07
13. Scene 5: Co vidim, v tabore je zena cizi (Peter, Armida) 00:02:47
14. Scene 5: Jak tady spor (Rinald, Armida, Peter) 00:04:26
15. Scene 6: Vy, kteri jste mne vyvolili vudcem (Gottfried von Bouillon, Rinald, Peter, Armida) 00:03:58
16. Scene 6: Slys, z hlubin bidy svoji (Armida, Chorus, Rinald, Peter) 00:05:51
17. Scene 6: O, duchu vecny, z moudrosti sve more (Gottfried von Bouillon, Armida) 00:01:51
18. Scene 7-8: Mne nelze cekat del (Rinald, Armida, Peter, Ismen) 00:07:32

CD 2:
1. Scene 1: Poutniku, jenz pouste prachem (Chorus, Rinald, Armida) 00:09:27
2. Scene 1: Jen niz, jen niz se sklon az k srdci memu (Rinald, Armida, Chorus) 00:04:55
3. Scene 2: Na prahu desnych pousti (Ismen) 00:01:37
4. Scene 3: Dost, Armido, jiz nebezpecne hry (Ismen, Armida) 00:04:31
5. Scene 4: Pojd’, vecer jiz se smraka (Rinald, Armida, Ismen) 00:07:51
6. Scene 5-6: Poutniku, jenz pouste prachem (Chorus, Ismen, Ubald, Sven) 00:06:03
7. Scene 7: Tise, tise vetrik dyse (Chorus) 00:01:58
8. Scene 8: Jen dale statne vydrz, svene muj (Chorus, Muezzin) 00:04:54

Act IV
9. Scene 1: Sam, v pousti sam o hruzo, byl to sen (Rinald) 00:09:56
10. Scene 2: Zde prepadeni mauru zalohou (Ubald, Peter, Sven, Rinald) 00:05:58
11. Scene 3: Zas vlaje kristuv prapor svaty (Chorus, Rinald, Peter, Ubald, Sven) 00:03:15
12. Scene 4: Hoj, dobre ja te znam! (Ismen, Rinald) 00:02:00
13. Scene 5: Zpet ustoupiz, ja vzyvam tebe v boj! (Armida, Rinald) 00:05:05
14. Finale: V sklon teskne drahy jsme prec svoji (Armida, Rinald, Chorus) 00:05:15

Joanna Borowska (Armida, Tocher des Hydraot – Sopran)
Pavel Daniluk (Hydraot, König von Damaskus – Baß)
George Fortune (Ismen, Fürst in Syrien – Bariton)
Vratislav Kriz (Gottfried von Bouillon, Anführer der Kreuzritter – Bariton)
Miloslav Podskalsky (Peter, der Eremit – Baß)
Wieslaw Ochman (Rinald, Kreuzritter – Tenor)
Milan Bürger (Gernand, Kreuzritter – Baß)
Richard Sporka (Dudo, Kreuzritter – Tenor)
Zdenek Harvánek (Ubald, Kreuzritter – Baß)
Jan Markvart (Sven, Kreuzritter – Tenor)
Vladimír Nacházel (Roger, Kreuzritter – Tenor)
Monika Brychtová (Sirene – Sopran)

Prager Kammerchor
Tschechisches Philharmonisches Orchester
Gerd Albrecht (Conductor)


Armida is Dvorak’s last completed work. It is the product of supreme proficiency in which the composer masterfully incorporated everything he had achieved and perfected during his life. Despite the difficulties he faced writing a musical setting to a text which was not ideal for the purpose, Dvorak succeeded in creating an exceptional piece of music. As in his preceding Rusalka, the basic principle of the musical-dramatic construction is the leitmotif, which is here introduced with a considerable measure of originality and invention. What is, however, most characteristic of Armida’s music is Dvorak’s ability to illustrate the exotic environment of the Orient. If we take a look at the composer’s entire oeuvre to date, we will note that he often resorted to the stylisation of various musical dialects. However, this was never the mechanical selection of existing thematic material. Whatever he sought in his music, whether Moravian folk inspiration in his Moravian Duets, impulses from folk dance types in his Slavonic Dances, echoes of Slovak folklore in his Gypsy Songs, the Russian folk temperament in the chorus scenes of the opera Dimitrij, elements of Negro music in his Ninth Symphony, or the distinctive musical expression of Native Americans in his String Quintet in E flat major – all have one thing in common: Dvorak’s voice always comes through. His unique invention continually and naturally blends with exotic influences to create a unified, homogeneous expression.

In Armida, as elsewhere, this supreme skill was brought to perfection, despite the fact that (or all the more so since) elements of oriental music are somewhat removed from the Czech environment and have little in common with the traditional notion of the Slav operatic genre. In his score for Armida Dvorak eloquently suggests the atmosphere of the Near East, particularly through his melodies and harmonies, but also in his method of instrumentation (e.g. female voices in combination with harps and woodwind). The viewer or listener senses the exotic environment in the very first bars of Act One, which is introduced by the call of the muezzin from the minaret, alternated in the form of a rondo with some of the most beautiful choral passages in the composer’s entire operatic oeuvre. We will find a series of similar passages in the opera – both in the choruses and the soloists’ vocal lines, particularly the occasional ornamental melismata sung by the magician Ismen, and also in the purely instrumental segments.

Apart from recreating the atmosphere of the Orient, a task Dvorak faced for the first time in the case of this opera, the composer also had to decide how to approach the scenes depicting supernatural phenomena. He had accomplished this previously in his cycle of symphonic poems written to Erben’s Bouquet, and in the operas The Devil and Kate and Rusalka. Dvorak’s settings for these scenes provide a remarkable testimony of the kind of sounds his musical invention was able to summon. Ismen’s very first “magic trick”, where he conjures up an image of the enemy forces out of thin air, is striking for its sound effects and dramatic impact.

The third significant element of the score is the way in which the music portrays the romance between Armida and Rinald. Lovers naturally appear in almost all Dvorak’s previous stage works, yet never is this relationship expressed in such erotic shades as in Armida. This type of musical setting is surprising in composers of Dvorak’s mould, yet the fact remains that he kept close to the original text and endeavoured to depict the central characters’ intimate scenes with maximum conviction. For example, the dialogue in Act Two (“Your hair” – “Your brow” – “Your sweet lips, your body, oh, let me thus eternally dream, and look into your eyes serene”) is literally charged with passion and sensuality, which the composer achieves through sophisticated chromatic vocal lines. ---antonin-dvorak.cz

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