Bernard Herrmann: Suite from Wuthering Heights; Echoes for Strings

Bernard Herrmann: Suite from Wuthering Heights; Echoes for Strings

CHSA 5337 (Chandos Records, SACD)

FIRST RELEASE (30 June 2023)

Playing time: 80'41"
Tracks: 20
Booklet pages: 42
℗ 2023 Chandos Records Ltd
© 2023 Chandos Records Ltd
Main country of recording: Singapore
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Bernard Herrmann: Suite from Wuthering Heights; Echoes for Strings published on 21 June 2023

Keri Fuge, soprano (Cathy, soprano voice) (tracks 1-19)
Roderick Williams, baritone (Heathcliff) (tracks 1-19)
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Stanislav Pronin, leader (tracks 1-19)
Chan Yoong-Han, leader (track 20)
Ng Pei-Sian, principal cello
Mario Venzago, conductor (tracks 1-19)
Joshua Tan, conductor (track 20)

Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975), adapted in 2011 by Hans Sørensen:

1-19 Suite from 'Wuthering Heights' (1943-51) for soprano, baritone and orchestra, adapted from the lyric drama in a prologue and four acts, to a libretto by Lucille Fletcher after Emily Brontë's novel (first recording)

20 Echoes (1965) for string quartet, adapted for string orchestra (first recording)

Bernard Herrmann is widely regarded as one of Hollywood's most important composers, responsible for more than fifty film scores (in addition to his work for TV, radio, and the concert hall), and noted for his collaborations with Orson Welles and, later, with Alfred Hitchcock. Welles was unofficially involved with Robert Stevenson's film of Jane Eyre in the 1940s, and it was Welles that suggested Herrmann as composer for the project. Herrmann became obsessed with all things Brontë, and within months was writing to friends of his plans to write an opera on Wuthering Heights. It took him eight years to complete the vocal score, using a libretto written by his wife, Lucille Fletcher. Although he conducted a recording of the work, in 1966, he failed to see a live production in his lifetime. Although the opera features eight solo roles, Cathy and Heathcliff dominate the action and are the only singers in Hans Sørensen's Suite of excerpts - recorded here for the very first time. Keri Fuge and Roderick Williams take the vocal roles on this recording. Echoes was composed in 1965 for string quartet, and was later arranged for string orchestra by Hans Sørensen - the version heard on this album. The recording was made in Surround Sound, and is available as a Hybrid SACD and in Spatial Audio.

Recorded 6 August 2020 (track 20) and 12-14 May 2022 (tracks 1-19) at the Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore.