Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Carl LOEWE (1796-1869)
Lieder, volume 14:

Der Wirtin Oöchterlein, Opus 1 No. 2
Die verfallene Mühle, Opus 109
Mädchen sind wie der Wind, Opus 9 No. 4
Der Heilige Franziskus, Opus 75 No. 3
Der Schatzgräber, Opus 59 No. 3
Die wandelnde Glocke, Opus 20 No. 3
Der getreue Eckart, Opus 44 No. 2
Die Glocken zu Speyer, Opus 67 No. 2
Der Mänch zu Pisa, Opus 114
Der alte Goethe, Opus 9
Friedericus Rex, Opus 61
Das Erkennen, Opus 65 No. 2
Abschied, Opus 3 No. 1
Melek am Quell, Opus 10 No. 6
Der Edelfalk, Opus 68 No. 2
Langraf Philipp, Ops 125 No. 1
Das Grab zu Ephesus, Opus 75 No. 1
Harald, Opus 45 No. 1

Kurt Moll (bass)
Cord Garben (piano)
Rec 8-10 March 1996 1998, SFB Berlin
CPO 999 414-2 [69.58]
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Loewe is an important figure in the German song (lieder) repertory. Practically an exact contemporary of Schubert (he was born the previous year), we tend to think of him as a composer of the next generation, because he lived a normal life span, until 1869.

Loewe wrote in excess of 500 lieder, as well as all manner of instrumental and choral music, though it is for his solo vocal works that he is remembered. The fact that this CPO issue of collected songs is labelled 'Volume 14' tells its own tale.

The artists are certainly of the front rank, both having established their credentials across Europe and beyond, and in a wide range of repertoire. For example, Moll is an established artist in the world's major opera houses, and Garben is a noted conductor as well as a talented pianist. Their experience and artistry is always evident in these performances, which are thoroughly convincing and imaginatively projected.

Perhaps the most distinctive of all the performances in this generous collection is that of the early ballad Der Wirtin Töchterlein, from his Opus 1 of 1818 (published five years later). Based on an original folksong, about an inn-keeper who tried to marry off his dead daughter, it is performed with the utmost involvement. On the other hand, the later Die verfallene Mühle (The derelict mill - 1847) is altogether more atmospheric and sophisticated in style, immediately impressing Loewe's range upon the listener.

And so it continues. Song after song reveal a master of his craft, in performances which carry the utmost conviction. Anyone who has enjoyed the songs of, say, Schubert and Schumann should investigate this music.

The CPO recording is nicely unobtrusive, with a naturally ambient acoustic and a good balance between voice and piano. Kurt Moll is in particularly fine voice too, tempting me to think that his greatest strength lies in the field of lieder singing.

There is a generous booklet with detailed introductory notes and full texts and translations, making this a highly attractive issue for the specialist and non-specialist alike.

Terry Barfoot

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