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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    





Robert SCHUMANN(1810-1856)
Liederkreis and Kerner-lieder
Liederkreis
Op. 24 (Heinrich Heine)
Morgens steh ich auf und frage
Es treibt mich hin, es treibt mich her!
Ich wandelte unter den Bäumen
Lieb Liebchen, legs Händchen aufs Herze mein
Schöne Wiege meiner Leiden
Warte, warte, wilder Schiffmann
Berg' und Burgen schaun herunter
Anfangs wollt' ich fast verzagen
Mit Myrten und Rosen, lieblich und hold

Lieder Op. 35 (Justinus Kerner)
Lust der Sturmnacht
Stirb, Lieb' und Freud'!
Wanderlied
Erstes Grün
Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend
Auf das Trinkglas eines verstorbenen Freundes
Wanderung
Stille Liebe
Frage
Stille Tränen
Wer machte dich so krank?
Alte Laute

Belsazar Op. 57 (Heinrich Heine)

Drei Lieder aus Op. 127 (Heinrich Heine/Justinus Kerner)
Sängers Trost
Dein Angesicht
Es leuchtet meine Liebe

Lieder Op. 142 (Heinrich Heine/Justinus Kerner/Lily Bernhard)

Trost im Gesang
Lehn deine Wang' an meine Wang'
Mädchen - Schwermut
Mein Wagen rollet langsam

Christoph Prégardien, tenor, Michael Gees, piano
Rec: January - February 1995, Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany.
RCA RED SEAL 74321 73235 2
[73.58]

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Heinrich Heine was the most popular poet for German lieder composers - more than 6,000 settings of his poems were made by composers such as Schubert, Pfitzner, Wolf, Brahms, and Schumann, as well as composers from other countries, including Charles Ives and Edvard Grieg. His poems were said to inspire composers by their sound, and Karl Kraus suggested that, "this lyric poetry has such melody, it cries out to be set to music."

Robert Schumann wrote his first large-scale composition for voice, the song cycle Liederkreis, in 1840, using nine poems by Heine. He later wrote other lieder on songs by Heine, such as the songs included later on this recording. This collection is completed by Dichterliebe, a song cycle also written 1n 1840, but based on poems by an entirely different poet, Justinus Kerner.

Christoph Prégardien is a fine tenor, who has shown his vocal qualities as an excellent evangelist in Bach's sacred works, in works by Handel, Mozart and Charpentier; aside his abundant production of sacred music, he has recorded a large number of lieder, by Schubert, Schumann, Loewe, Beethoven, Pfitzner and many more. His voice fits this repertoire perfectly. He sings with force when needed, such as in the almost martial Wanderlied; his voice fills with energy and resounds with vigor. But he can also sing with lightness when called for, as in Ich wandelte unter den Baümen. In this song, he weakens just a bit at the very high notes, but this weakening is inevitable, and gives the song a very human touch. He is capable of expressing a wide range of emotions, and uses every nuance in his voice to give a full palette of tone colors to this music.

Michael Gees' piano playing also fits perfectly with the music, being neither too intrusive nor too distant. One can hear that the two musicians are playing in perfect harmony.

Christoph Prégardien remains one of the finest tenors singing German lieder. This recording is another excellent collection of songs, and he again shows the wide range of emotions at his expressive command. A recording that deserves the attention of all fans of German lieder.


Kirk McElhearn


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