John Carewe / René Pape / Torsten Rasch

Torsten Rasch: Mein Herz brennt - A Song Cycle Based on the Music of Rammstein

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Mein Herz Brennt, Torsten Rasch's tribute to the band Rammstein, is a powerful song cycle of almost operatic proportions, and the dark nihilism of the group's songs is conveyed effectively through Rasch's neo-Expressionist language. To listeners familiar with Alban Berg's operas and Arnold Schoenberg's atonal orchestral works, this impressive reworking of Rammstein's material will seem cut from the same cloth. The subtle orchestral colors, skillfully applied instrumental effects, and richly varied textures may bring Wozzeck or Lulu to mind. Yet Rasch's music is not wholly derived from the Second Viennese school. His flexible Bergian approach allows for the integration of these goth rock songs; while his setting is modernist, Rammstein's words and music fit in exceedingly well. Baritone René Pape's searching vocals are central to the cycle, and his performances of Mutter, Mein Herz Brennt, and Nebel are passionate and moving. But Katharina Thalbach's menacing and creepy Sprechstimme steals the show, and her frightening appearances in Herzeleid and Ich Will provoke chills that are not easily shaken off. The Dresden Symphony, under John Carewe, is exceptionally engaged in the performance and is heard to best advantage in the set of variations that close the disc. Deutsche Grammophon's recording is superb and captures the performance with realistic depth and clarity.

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