Doráti: The Chosen / Fischer-Dieskau, Beethoven Academy Orchestra

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Antal Doráti is well known as a conductor within interested audience sectors, not least through the unparalleled range of his recording catalogue. But moreover, the Hungarian-born American has also left behind a compositional oeuvre of not insignificant proportions. The Chosen – as the work was named in English by Doráti – is his only stage work and is based on the mystery play Elija by distinguished philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965). It was his mentor Doráti himself who drew the attention of Martin Fischer-Dieskau, initiator of this world premiere recording in Cracow and internationally acclaimed conductor and scholar, to this Opus Magnum.


Doráti's work is truly operatic, especially the highly dramatic and turbulent second act, centred on the crimes of King Ahab and Jezebel, and Elijah's vanquishing of the servants of the pagan god Baal in the name of the true God Jehovah. However, the lack of a chorus and an emphasis on propelling the narrative through a series of solo declamations rather than ensemble pieces links it to the Biblical oratorio tradition, while some tremendously powerful purely orchestral "symphonic intermezzi" depict several of the most dramatic episodes of action, which are not enacted on stage. As befits an interpretation of Buber's philosophical drama, this is a serious, substantial, and compelling work which takes its time to make its central points while retaining a sense of inexorable narrative flow and theatrical approachability.

--Records International

Effectively ‘staged’ for the microphones in the studios of Polish radio, this recording makes a determined case for Der Künder as a contingent drama and not an oratorio of ideas by placing the voices front and centre, focusing a sense of the central figure coming into his own, his isolation as a prophet, the human conflict between him and the unbelievers around him, led by Ahab and Jezebel, and the no less bitter internal struggle suffered by Elijah with the dictates of Jehovah.

The gentle but patiently sustained pace of the first act is released in the plight of Tanit, the widow of Zarephath, touchingly done by Mi-Young Kim. In Act 2, Rachel Frenkel and Michael Schade throw everything at the Ortrud/ Telramund-like conference between Jezebel and Ahab; when rarely granted the opportunity to forsake gruff recitative for cantabile, Tomasz Konieczny makes a noble Elijah. The smaller roles and the tricky choral and orchestral writing are all confidently traversed.


Product Description:

  • Release Date: May 06, 2022

  • Catalog Number: ORF-C220313

  • UPC: 4011790220130

  • Label: ORFEO

  • Number of Discs: 3

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Antal Doráti

  • Conductor: Martin Fischer-Dieskau

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Beethoven Academy Orchestra

  • Performer: Tomasz Konieczny, Michael Schade, Rachel Frenkel, Ron Silberstein, Mi-Young Kim, Yuval Oren, Marek Gasztecki, Joo-Hoon Shin, Makar Pihura


  1. Der Künder

    Composer: Antal Dorati

    Ensemble: Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Poznan Opera House Choir

    Conductor: Martin Fischer-Dieskau