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Just after the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth, CPO are releasing a concert performance of his rarely performed sung poem “Feuersnot” under the baton of Ulf Schirmer. The satirist Ernst von Wolzogen, who wrote the libretto for this “Bavarian burlesque” founded the first literary cabaret in Berlin, the Ueberbrettl.


This new version of Strauss’s ribald 1901 comedy follows CPO’s fine recording of Intermezzo, which was released last year to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. Like its predecessor, it derives from a Bavarian Radio production, and it uses the same conductor, Ulf Schirmer, and redeploys many of the same singers. Markus Eiche and Simone Schneider, exemplary as the feuding Storchs of the earlier set, are now cast, equally superbly, as the high-minded sorcerer Kunrad and the spirited burgomaster’s daughter Diemut, whose affair has to withstand both her wilful temperament and the hypocritical prudery of the local bourgeoisie before it can achieve its proper consummation. Unlike many interpreters, Schirmer is low-key and thoughtful, avoiding simplistic bawdry and admirably suggesting that the lovers sentimental education is as much about tenderness as what happens in the sack. The minor roles are variably sung, though Lars Woldt is suitably prissy as Diemut’s father and Wolfgang Schwinghammer has fun as a superstitious, busybody innkeeper. **** –Guardian, 12/3/15

The performance here, recorded live at the beginning of 2014, is wonderfully airy and easy going. Ulf Schirmer and his orchestra bring out the music’s warmth with textures sounding transparent in CPO s natural recording. –Gramophone,May’15

Ulf Schirmer extracts maximum juice from the score, the Munchner Rundfunkorchester plays magnificently and the children’s extensive and coplex choral work is outstanding. Markus Eiche is Kunrad,the sorcerer,and his mellifluous and high lying baritone has no problems with the top Fs and Gs that abound. highly recommended. –Opera Now, June’15

Specification: Feuersnot


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