- (Michail Jurowski)
- Format: CD
The Canterville Ghost is one of Knaifel's earliest successes and his best-known work. The libretto, by Tatiana Kramarova, is based on Oscar Wilde's story of the same name, detailing an American family's relocation to English manor Canterville Chase, which is haunted by the ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville. While some of the family ridicule the spectre, daughter Virginia befriends him and eventually orchestrates his peaceful departure from the house. Originally written to include 18 solo voices, the revised version includes only the roles of Virginia and the Ghost. Knaifel's mixed style of composition, contrasting the spiky, satirical rhythms of the first scene with the lyrical, expressive vocal parts, reflects the nature of Wilde's original work as a combination of a traditional ghost story and a modern social comedy. Recorded in 1990 Alexander Knaifel (born in 1943) belongs to the group of Soviet avant-gardists, together with Schnittke, Gubaidulina, Denisov, Silvestrov and Pärt. His music was too extravagant for the Soviet authorities and it was officially banned. His huge output, both orchestral and theatrical, shows a strong dramatic instinct, both bitingly sarcastic and innocently lyrical. Excellent Russian performance, led by the eminent Michael Jurowski.