The opera is starring countertenor Valer Sabadus - one of opera's most exciting newcomers - now exclusively signed to Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, a division of Sony Classical. Christoph Willibald Gluck, widely known for fundamentally reforming the 'opera seria' wrote some of the greatest and exemplary masterpieces of this great genre before he started his famous reform of the opera. This makes this work a fascinating and enlightening piece in the puzzle for the evolution of opera and the eminent character Gluck. Gluck's setting of La Clemenza was first performed in Naples in 1752, ten years before his first reform opera.
Beethoven as a giant of the symphony and the sonata has somewhat overshadowed Beethoven as a creator of songs. On this varied and insightful recording, tenor Werner Güra performs a program featuring Adelaide and the first song cycle in history, An die ferne Geliebte, that proves Beethoven's lieder lacked neither appeal nor originality. Accompanist Christoph Berner plays a Streicher fortepiano of 1847 that is perfectly suited to both the songs and to his solo performance of the wonderful Bagatelles of Op.126.
Often described as one of Europe's foremost living composers, Hans Werner Henze could perhaps more accurately be described as Europe's greatest living composer. Born in 1926, Henze's career spans sixty years, his style encompasses everything from neo-classicism to post-modernism, his works include everything from grand operas to intimate quartets, and his music embraces everything from ecstatic lyricism to agonizing expressionism. In this disc devoted to his music for guitar, Henze's intimate, lyrical, neo-classical side is brilliantly on display from the achingly lovely Drei Tentos (Three Attempts) and Drei Fragmente nach Hölderlin (Three Fragments from Hölderlin) both from 1958 through the intensely dramatic Royal Winter Music from 1979 to the wildly eclectic Selbst- und Zweigespräche (Monologues and Dialogues) from 1985 and Neue Volkslieder und Hirtengesänge (New Folk Songs and Shepherd's Melodies) from 1986.