Hyperion Records

Fantaisie dramatique, Op 89
Fantaisie dramatique sur le célèbre choral protestant intercalé par Giacomo Meyebeer dans Les Huguenots (Luther's setting of Psalm 46, Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott); dedicated to Mademoiselle Marie Saladin de Prégny

'Herz: Piano Music' (CDA67606)
Herz: Piano Music
Track 8 on CDA67606 [14'22]

Fantaisie dramatique, Op 89
The full title of the Fantaisie dramatique Op 89 as printed on the cover is Fantaisie dramatique sur le célèbre choral protestant intercalé par Giacomo Meyerbeer dans Les Huguenots. Those expecting a bravura Herzian treatment of ‘the celebrated Protestant chorale’—Luther’s setting of Psalm 46, ‘Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott’—will be disappointed, as will anyone expecting a virtuoso paraphrase on the opera’s themes as in Thalberg’s two stupendous fantasies Op 20 and Op 43, or the three different versions of Liszt’s Réminiscences des Huguenots. In fact, it appears, there is nothing of Meyerbeer at all in Herz’s sixteen-page score.

Robert le Diable (1831) was Meyerbeer’s first major success and laid the foundations of his fabulous wealth. His next triumph, Les Huguenots (February 1836), was greatly anticipated and saw the phenomenon, in the words of Arthur Loesser (Men, Women and Pianos), of ‘an eminently erethic merchandise label, likely to provoke little haemorrhages of money from almost anyone … Through this chink the smooth Henri Herz thought he could squirm himself into a little fresh, if forbidden, sugar.’ Unable to compose a fantasy on the themes from Les Huguenots, since he and Schlesinger, the opera’s publisher, were sworn enemies, Herz published the above-titled work weeks before Schlesinger’s publication date, ‘providing it with a homemade introduction and a gratuitous air de ballet as an epilogue’. Crafty. No Meyerbeer—and ‘Ein’ feste Burg’ had been in the public domain for centuries. The piece is dedicated to Mademoiselle Marie Saladin de Prégny.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA67606 track 8
Recording date
20 October 2006
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Herz: Piano Music (CDA67606)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: January 2008
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