Marko Letonja: Felix Weingartner Das Gefilde der Seligen, Basel Symphony

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Felix Weingartner - Das Gefilde der Seligen (1892)
Conducted by Marko Letonja with the Basel Symphony Orchestra.

Goethe's Ankunft im Elysium, by Franz Nadorp.
Goethe's Ankunft im Elysium, by Franz Nadorp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Elysium or the Elysian Fields is a conception of the afterlife that evolved over time and was maintained by certain Greek religious and philosophical sects, and cults. Initially separate from the realm of Had
es, admission was initially reserved for mortals related to the gods and other heroes. Later, it expanded to include those chosen by the gods, the righteous, and the heroic, where they would remain after death, to live a blessed and happy life, and indulging in whatever employment they had enjoyed in life. The Elysian Fields were, according to Homer, located on the western edge of the Earth by the stream of Oceanus. In the time of the Greek oral poet Hesiod, Elysium would also be known as the Fortunate Isles or the Isles (or Islands) of the Blessed, located in the western ocean at the end of the earth. The Isles of the Blessed would be reduced to a single island by the Thebean poet Pindar, describing it as having shady parks, with residents indulging their athletic and musical pastimes.

The ruler of Elysium varies from author to author; Pindar and Hesiod name Cronus as the ruler, While the poet Homer in the Odyssey describes fair-haired Rhadamanthus dwelling there.

Weingartner edited the complete works of Hector Berlioz (he once called Berlioz the "creator of the modern orchestra") as well as the operas Joseph by Méhul and Oberon by Weber, and individual works of Gluck, Wagner and others. He also made orchestral versions of piano works such as Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata, Weber's Invitation to the Dance, and Bizet's Variations chromatiques. Before Brian Newbould's more recent work, in 1934, he made a performing version of Schubert's Symphony No. 7 in E major, D. 729, that has received some performances and recordings; he also arranged works by a number of early Romantic masters for orchestral performance.