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Der Stein der Weisen (The Philosopher's Stone) by Mozart, Hennebert, Schack, Gerl, Schikaneder / Pearlman, Boston Baroque

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 24, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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What this is not is a previously unknown opera by Mozart; what it is, is a sheer delight, a pastiche by several composers, including Mozart, performed in 1790 at the same theatre and by the same company that, in the following year, presented Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In fact, Mozart's contribution to The Philospher's Stone is limited to about five minutes of music, but his spirit pervades. This premiere recording includes a bonus CD with a discussion of the piece as well as musical illustrations. Textually, almost every character in Magic Flute has a parallel in this work: Papageno and Papagena are here Lubano and Lubanara, for example, and musically they are eerily alike as well. The world is one of fairy tale and alchemy. It never plumbs the depths of Mozart's late works, but there's joyously good music to latch onto nonetheless. The entire cast is good, with special kudos going to Paul Austin Kelly, who sings tenor music that is difficult enough and chock full of coloratura to match the Queen of the Night's acrobatics. If the entire score is without extra-special brilliance, at least what we get is top-level, very-late-18th-century generic music--sort of like Salieri and company mixed with Mozart. And this definitive performance, on period instruments led by Martin Pearlman, will please everyone. Mozart, not quite; necessary, absolutely. --Robert Levine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture
  2. Introduction: 'Ihr Madchen! Ihr Junglinge!'
  3. Dialogue
  4. Aria; 'Alle Wetter! O Ihr Gotter!'
  5. Dialogue
  6. Aria; 'So Ein Schones Weibchen'
  7. Dialogue
  8. Chorus And Solo; 'Welch Reizende Musik'
  9. Dialogue
  10. Duet; 'Tralleralara! Tralleralla!'
  11. Dialogue
  12. Recitativ; 'Das Wirst Du Nie'
  13. Dialogue
  14. Chorus And Solo; 'Seht Doch! Mit Gold'nem Geweih'
  15. Dialogue
  16. Aria; 'Ein Madchen, Die Von Liebe Heiss'
  17. Dialogue
  18. Recitative; 'Das Wirst Du Nie' - Aria: Welch Fremde Stimme Horte Ich?
  19. Finale; 'Wohin Nadine'
  20. 'O Leibster Vater'
  21. 'Seht Doch! Mit Gold'nem Geweih'
  22. 'Ihr Freunde, Ihr Madchen'
  23. 'Erhebet Eure Haupter'
  24. 'Wut Und Verzweiflung'
  25. 'Ich Muss Nadin E Eilig Nach'
  26. 'So Kommt Denn, Ohne Zu Verweilen'

Disc: 2

  1. Overture
  2. Chorus With Solo And Recitative: 'Ach, Astromonte
  3. Dialogue
  4. Aria; 'Den Madchen Trauet Nicht Zu Viel'
  5. Dialogue
  6. Marsch
  7. Dialogue
  8. Duet; 'Nun, Liebes Weibchen'
  9. Dialogue
  10. Aria; 'Nadir, Du siegst'
  11. Dialogue
  12. Aria; 'Ihr Gutigen Gotter'
  13. Dialogue
  14. Chorus; 'Astromont' Stirbt Durch Uns'
  15. Dialogue
  16. Arie; 'Die Lieb Ist Wohl Ein Narrisch Ding'
  17. Dialogue
  18. Aria; 'Mein Einziger, Liebster Nadir!'
  19. Dialogue
  20. Finale; 'Miau! Miau!'
  21. 'Fuhl Meine Macht'
  22. 'O Astromonte Hore Mich!'
  23. 'Jungling, Nadine Ist Tot'
  24. 'Fort, Armer Jungling'
  25. 'Du Schwarzer Teuful'
  26. 'Nadir, Ermord' Erst Diesen Hier'
  27. 'Nadir! Nadir, Der Sieg Ist Dein'
  28. 'Herr Astromonte, Wir Danken Euch'


Product Details

  • Performer: Various Artists, Paul Austin Kelly, Kevin Deas, Alan Ewing, Chris Pedro Trakas, et al.
  • Orchestra: Boston Baroque
  • Conductor: Martin Pearlman
  • Composer: Emanuel Schikaneder, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audio CD (August 24, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B00000JXZU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,666 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on September 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The story of how a 1790 Singspiel was returned by Russia to the west and how certain annotations therein astounded musicologists is well told in the booklet that accompanies the new Telarc release of <Der Steinder Weisen (The Philosopher's Stone)> (CD-80508). When I tell you the libretto is by Emanuel Schikaneder, you might recognize his name from "Amadeus" as the owner of the theater in which was performed his libretto for "The Magic Flute" when he also sang the role of Papageno. When I name the committee of composers he hired to help him compose the music in the shortest possible time--Henneberg, Schack, Gerl, Mozart--you might be startled by the last name. You see, the score was lost since the end of World War II when Soviet soldiers carried it back as part of their loot, and it had written in it the names of the composers of certain of the arias, duets, and so on. Well, Mozart's name shows up three times! But that is no reason to go running to purchase this recreation with Martin Pearlman conducting the Boston Baroque and soloists. There is a third CD given as bonus in which the conductor gives a marvelous comparison between this work and "Magic Flute" which came out only a year later, which might tempt you more to make the purchase. I might point out that this work gives fascinating insight into what the public demanded and got during Mozart's lifetime and is therefore invaluable to students of music and the theater--all of which of the above should have you thinking of owning a set. But when I pronounce the work a thing of joy in its own right--you would never guess the circumstances of how it was composed--then you should all wish to give this Telarc recording a hearing right quick.Read more ›
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While I generally agree with the other reviewers of this disc, I would like to add that, for anyone who is fascinated and intrigued by Mozart's Magic Flute, this disc is essential listening. The parallel characters and similar plot motifs (and similar musical motifs, even between the Magic Flute and the non-Mozart music in Der Stein der Weisen) shed light on the fairy-tale elements of Mozart's opera so as to balance out the notion that The Magic Flute sprang up entirely from Mozart's and Schikaneder's Masonic ideas.
I also suspect that there is somewhat more of Mozart's music in this piece than the press reviewer counts. I interpret the attribution column of the liner notes to say that Mozart wrote much of the second-act finale, and, while I am no musicologist, the segments of that finale seem to build in the way that a Mozart finale does. Still, if you listen to The Magic Flute only because of the grandeur of the music and are really put off by the plot, this singspiel will only annoy you further, since Mozart was using his considerable talents here simply in support of yet another bizarre fairy tale.
I would be a bit more generous to the singers than some of the other reviewers. I enjoyed listening to all the performances and felt that the characters, such as they were (there is a good deal of fairy and folk tale formula here), were brought to life successfully. The orchestra of authentic instruments under Martin Pearlman always sounds good to me. There were never any moments when I felt I was putting up with an inferior performance simply because it was the only performance available.
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I have not liked an opera this much, since well- Die Zauberflote! What a perfect opera to rank along with Le nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflote as one of my favorite operas!
I bought it ONLY because it bore the name Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and had that name not been on there this would have been a huge loss. The entire opera is WONDERFUL. Yes the 1 hour and 50 minutes of music that Mozart didn't write is sublime and WONDERFUL!
I can't rave enough. If you love GREAT music- get this....
The duet done by Mozart is wonderful as well!
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This is a German singspiel, composed by a variety of late 18th century Viennese composers, including Mozart, for theatrical entertainment. It is good fun and entertaining, though it really contains no stunning pieces or enriching music. Mozart's contributions are jolly, but they are not profound or dramatic music of the sort which makes the Magic Flute a towering masterpiece. Instead, the work is more a demonstration of how much pleasurable vocal work was being written at the end of the 18th century and how much richer we are for being able to delve into it in first class recordings.
The performance here is excellent, making for a most enjoyable set. There are no outstanding voices, nor should there be, and the Boston Baroque ensemble sounds just right. The only real weakness is that, as with all singspiels, there are long bits of German dialogue which do not make rewarding listening on repeated hearings or if one is not fluent in German.
Don't get this set because it has bits by Mozart -- they are only a small fraction of the music and they are far from being his best work -- but because its a pleasant and enlightening set. But it's not for people who would not consider buying operas by Salieri, Cimarosa, etc., but only go for the big names.
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