This 6-CD set captures Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Daniel Barenboim in some of their most significant recordings together and features the astonishingly beautiful and highly regarded lieder of Hugo Wolf.
This entertaining CD takes its name from a cantata, which forms one part of this recital devoted to the music of Georg Benda (1722-95), one of a distinguished family of Bohemian musicians who settled in Berlin in the 18th century and became part of the German enlightenment. Georg became Kapellmeister at Gotha in 1750 and gained widespread approval for his compositions and for his skill as a violinist, oboist and keyboard player. Mozart admired Benda’s music and carried two of his melodramas with him on his travels. Hyperion have put together a pretty record containing piano pieces (played here expertly on the fortepiano by Timothy Roberts), lieder and the above cantata for soprano or tenor by two of our best ‘chamber singers’ (which does not mean that they do not sing other genres, only that they excel in this kind of intimate sphere). It might be a good idea not to play the whole hour of music at one go but (say) to have half before dinner and half afterwards.
Although highly productive and respected in his lifetime as a composer of Lieder, Robert Franz (1815–92) has since become a peripheral figure in music history. One reason may be that he avoids dramatic contrasts and instead aims at an emotional ambiguity: ‘My representation of joy is always tinged with melancholy, whilst that of suffering is always accompanied by an exquisite sensation of losing oneself’, he once wrote to Liszt. As a consequence his music appeals to those who are able ‘to admire the nuances of a charcoal drawing without longing for the colours of a painting’, to quote from Georges Starobinski’s liner notes to this recording. As they began to explore the songs of Franz, Starobinski and the baritone Christian Immler were moved by their findings to devise a programme which includes 23 of the composer’s often quite brief songs. Using the poet Heinrich Heine as their guiding star, they present these – all Heine settings but from different opus groups – in the form of two ‘imagined’ song cycles.
Beethoven as a giant of the symphony and the sonata has somewhat overshadowed Beethoven as a creator of songs. On this varied and insightful recording, tenor Werner Güra performs a program featuring Adelaide and the first song cycle in history, An die ferne Geliebte, that proves Beethoven's lieder lacked neither appeal nor originality. Accompanist Christoph Berner plays a Streicher fortepiano of 1847 that is perfectly suited to both the songs and to his solo performance of the wonderful Bagatelles of Op.126.
"Glitzerndes Geschmeide aus feinsten vokalen Halbedelsteinen." ~KLASSIK heute
"Dass Prégardien zu den ganz großen lyrischen Tenören unserer Zeit gehört, ist seiner Interpretation durchweg anzumerken: Er überzeugt durch eine ungemein stimmungsvolle, technisch makellose Wiedergabe, er arbeitet mit feinsten Nuancen, die er bei souveräner Stimmbeherrschung in fast allen Lagen zur subtilen Ausleuchtung der Liedtexte anwendet… Gees erweist sich als sehr sensibler und aufmerksamer Begleiter, der mit weichem und doch sprechendem Anschlag die Stimmungen der Lieder zu erfassen und nachzuzeichnen versteht."
In all, nothing here is a landmark in the art of lieder singing, but anyone who fondly remembers Prey will find much to reminisce over.
Heinrich August Marschner was the most important composer of German opera between Weber and Wagner. To the extent that he is still remembered, it is largely for his operas Hans Heiling (1833), Der Vampyr (1828), and Der Templer und die Jüdin (1829), extremely popular in his lifetime. Marschner’s ability to depict supernatural horror by musical means is especially evident in the first two operas as well as in some of his ballads, such as "Die Monduhr". Next to his operas, Marschner's most significant musical contribution is to the Lied. The best of his works in this form are comparable with those by Carl Loewe.