Jaromir Weinberger : Der Duddlesackpfeiffer (Schwanda The Bagpiper) 1927, Prague, Czech Republic
CBS Masterworks 36926 (2 CDs)

04/16/2008
Lucia Popp (Soprano), Gwendolyn Killebrew (Mezzo Soprano), Siegfried Jerusalem (Tenor), Hermann Prey (Baritone), Siegmund Nimsgern (Bass)
Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Chorus
Heinz Wallberg
Booklet in English, German and French. (160 pages)
2:06:00



Weinberger's Schwanda used to be extremely popular, and even the formerly ubiquitous Polka and Fugue seems to have fallen out of favor. This is the opera's only major-label recording, and happily it's fabulous.
The cast, led by Hermann Prey in the title role, is as strong as can be, and the story is delightful: it's yet another take on "great music can charm even the devil," with (naturally) some love interest thrown in to set the plot rolling.
The music is ornately lyrical: glitteringly scored and full of luscious chromatic filigree. It deserves to be popular again. Weinberger, who committed suicide in 1967 at his home in St. Petersburg, Florida (if you've ever been there, you'd understand),
was a fine composer who does not merit his current obscurity. In any event, thanks to Arkivmusic.com, you can get the complete opera "on demand" nicely packaged in a convenient slipcase, with the original notes and complete libretto!
David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com