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Manfred Gurlitt (1890-1973) was one of many 20th-century composers whose career and reputation were marred by politics. Kicked out of the Nazi party, in 1939 he made an ill- advised move to Japan, which remained his home for the rest of his life. Nana, based on Zola’s novel of 1880, to a libretto by Max Brod (who also leftin 1939, but for Palestine), although written in the late 1930s, only received its first performance, in Dortmund, in 1958, and has since only had one other outing, in French, in Bordeaux in 1967. The music is an unexciting mish-mash of Richard Strauss, Berg, Korngold et al, the vocal writing near-recitative throughout. This live recording of a 2010 production in Erfurt, conducted by Enrico Calesso, is of poor sound quality, mainly through badly positioned mics; the leaflet contains the libretto (only in German), with very badly translated English synopsis and introduction. Strictly for anoraks.

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