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CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Complete Songs
CD 1
Sehnsucht nach dem Fruhlinge K 596 [02:34]; Im Fruhlingsanfang K 597 [03:02]; Das Kinderspiel K 598 [01:47]; Auf die feierliche Johannisloge K 148 [02:19]; Lied zur Gesellenreise K 468 [02:19]; Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls K 619 [06:47]; Wie unglucklich bin ich nit K 147 [00:55]; Komm, liebe Zither K 351 [02:05]; Die Verschweigung K 518 [04:13]; An Chloe K 524 [02:30]; Der Zauberer K 472 [02:12]; Das Lied der Trennung K 519 [04:51]; Die betrogene Welt K 474 [03:17]; Als Luise die Briefe K 520 [01:39]; Lied der Freiheit K 506 [02:20]; Oiseaux, si tous les ans K 307 [01:29]; Dans un bois solitaire K 308 [02:52]; Die Zufriedenheit K 349 (version with mandolin accompaniment) [02:40];
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Luisens Antwort D 319
Josef MYSLIVEČEK (1737-1781)
Ridente la calma
(arr. W.A. Mozart for voice and piano K 152/210a) [03:19]
CD 2
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Die Zufriedenheit K 349 (version with piano accompaniment) [01:43]; An die Freude K 53 [02:57]; Verdankt sei es dem Glanz K 392 [02:27]; An die Einsamkeit K 391 [02:43]; An die Hoffnung K 390 [01:59]; Die Zufriedenheit K 473 [02:54]; Die Alte K 517 [03:17]; Die Kleine Spinnerin K 531 [02:17]; Beim Auszug in das Feld K 552 [01:42]; Two German sacred songs K 343: O Gottes Lamm [02:02]; Als aus Aegypten [01:38]; Des kleinen Friedrichs Geburtstag K 529 [02:19]; Das Veilchen K 476 [02:38]; Das Traumbild K 530 [03:56]; Abendempfindung K 523 [04:44]; Einsam bin ich, meine Liebe K.Anh.26 [01:12]
Ruth Ziesak (soprano); Lothar Odinius (tenor); Ariane Lorch (mandolin); Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano)
rec. Deutschlandradio Kultur Studio, Siemens Villa, Berlin Lankwitz, Germany, 25-30 September 2006 and 12-14 February 2007. DDD
Booklet notes in English and German, artistsí biographies in English only, sung texts not included but available with translations on the Naxos website
NAXOS 8.557900-01 [53.40 + 43.07]


Experience Classicsonline

Mozartís songs are perhaps his least known works. I am familiar with a number, as they have sometimes been included in recitals but I have seldom seen a compilation of the complete songs on CD. It is interesting that Naxos decided to issue this set in 2008, though it was recorded in 2006 and 2007. Somehow, I would have expected it to appear during 2006, the year of the composerís 250th birthday. It would have been unusual and welcome and a slightly different, more original way of celebrating Mozartís genius. Nevertheless, as the celebrations have further increased the composerís popularity and the taste to discover some of his less known compositions continues to grow steadily, this set is a wonderful invitation to embark on a pleasant journey and experience a more intimate Mozart.

As stated in the booklet, Mozart loved song and the human voice, which he used as the predominant instrument of musical expression throughout his career. Though his songs do not have the same artistic importance as his operas or concert arias, they demonstrate the composerís interest in all forms of composition and his talented versatility. While these discs do not offer anything new or terribly original, they certainly deliver nearly two hours of relaxing and pleasing musical experience. There is however much more to Mozartís songs. They demonstrate the composerís incredible ability to merge the music with the sound and rhythm of words. Whether the poems he chose are in German, French or Italian the text is always beautifully underlined by the music. Mozart never compromised his unique melodic gift and always showed a wonderful understanding of the poetic text. He had a talent for grasping the specific sound of the various languages, never writing against it and always subtly stressing the correct part of the text, enhancing its meaning. He was one of the first composers to give song a dramatic treatment, paying special attention to any subtle changes of inflection and to the flow of the words. In so doing, Mozart created music that is shaped by the text, melts with it and brings out a harmonious little story, a mini-drama or a mini-comedy; and so, foretelling the direction that Lieder composition was to take under the influence of the great Romantics, such as Schubert, Schumann or Wolf.

This 2-CD set contains thirty-six songs: thirty-four are by Mozart, one by Schubert and one attributed to the Czech composer Josef Mysliveček but arranged by Mozart. This last one, Ridente la calma, was believed for a long time to have been written by Mozart but there appears to be evidence that he only arranged it. Whatever the truth, it is one of the most beautiful works on the CD, sung in its original Italian, graceful and serene, telling of a peaceful, fulfilling love. Schubertís song included here, Luisens Antwort, uses the poem written by Kosegarten as a reply to Klamer Schmidtís poem Das Lied der Trennung, which Mozart transformed into a remarkable song. Whether Schubert knew Mozartís song is arguable but undeniably these two songs are not only a literary but also a musical pair, forming a dramatically expressive and unusual dialogue.

Possibly, the most famous of all the songs here is Das Veilchen and this is not by chance. It is the only song that Mozart composed to a poem by Goethe. The text is beautifully written, full of subtle but tragic irony and Mozartís music perfectly brings out these aspects of it, creating a psychological mini-drama that is a precious, little masterpiece. The song is wonderfully interpreted by German soprano Ruth Ziesak who gives it a pure and delicate treatment.

Ziesak performs approximately half of the pieces on this set and the other half is sung by German tenor Lothar Odinius. Both singers are accomplished, critically acclaimed Mozart interpreters and they do full justice to the beauty of these little gems. Ziesak possesses a clear, crystalline vocal line, with a beautiful legato, delicate phrasing and purity of sentiment. She excels particularly in one of the French songs, Oiseaux, si tous les ans and in the Italian, Ridente la calma. It is perhaps peculiar that her rendition of the German songs is less clear in terms of the language, even though she is a native German speaker, though no less beautiful or accomplished. Odinius on the other hand is in his element in all the German songs. His diction is perfectly clear, giving it the required subtle inflection; one hears each syllable in wonderful harmony with the music. He sings with grace, elegantly and emotionally expressive. Odinius studied with the great bass-baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b. 1925) and had masterclasses with non-other than Alfredo Kraus (1927-1999). The influence of these two wonderful singers is audible throughout Odiniusís performances, particularly in Lied der Freiheit, which he delivers with clarity, style and vitality; and in version one of Die Zufriedenheit. This is the one with mandolin accompaniment; to my mind, more beautiful than the one with piano. Odinius sings it with delicacy and sensitive sweet tone. The mandolin is wonderfully and effectively played by Ariane Lorch, not only a talented player but also a conductor. She provides the accompaniment to only one other song in the CD, Komm, liebe Zither, komm, also sung by Odinius. All other pieces are accompanied at the piano by accomplished musician and scholar Ulrich Eisenlohr. His performance is expressive and relaxed throughout, demonstrating his versatility and expertise in Lieder accompaniment, easily moving from vivacious or passionate to delicate or sensitive, depending on the character of the song. He perfectly cushions the vocal line, enhancing and supporting it, without ever attempting to overwhelm the voices or bring the instrument to the foreground. Eisenlohr displays an excellent understanding not only of the piano but also of the intimate phrasing and sentiment present in Mozartís music. He also wrote the detailed explanatory notes about the songs, contained on the CD booklet, which make a really pleasant and informative reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed this recital. It was obviously recorded with great care and lovingly performed by all the artists involved. This set is pleasant from beginning to end, sometimes absorbing, sometimes relaxing but always revealing of Mozartís unique gift: the harmonious combination of very different emotions in music, which people can identify with at the many and various moments of their lives. To finalise, I would like to repeat the words of Classic FMís presenter, Simon Bates, which for me defines what Mozartís music is all about: ďI listen to Mozart when Iím delighted or depressed and at all the points in betweenĒ. I could not agree more!

Margarida Mota-Bull 

see also Review by GŲran Forsling



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