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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

The Complete Aksel Schiøtz Recordings 1933-1946: Vol. 7
Oluf RING (1884-1946)

Den danske sommer (1), Trækfuglene. Præludium (2)
Recorded October 5th 1940, November 17th 1939
Otto MORTENSEN (1907-1986)

Sommervise (3)
Recorded May 12th 1938
Knud Vad THOMSON (1905-1971)

Til Glæden (4)
Recorded August 28th 1939
Povl HAMBURGER (1901-1972)

Sne (5), Limfjorden (6)
Recorded August 26th 1939
Aksel AGERBY (1889-1942)

Majnat (7), Havren (8), Liljekonval (9), Jeg ved Ė (10)
Recorded August 25th 1939 (7-8), April 25th 1939 (9-10)
Mogens SCHRADER (1894-1934)

I de lyse nætter (11), Mod efterår (12)
Recorded August 24th 1939
Danish-Swedish Folk-tune

Jeg gik mig ud en Sommerdag (13)
Recorded August 24th 1939
Thorvald AAGAARD (1877-1937)

Jeg ser de bøgelyse øer (14)
Recorded September 24th 1940
Walter BJERBORG (1909-1989)

Jeg har sortnende hede (15)
Recorded September 24th 1940
Knudåge RIISAGER (1897-1974)

Mor Danmark (16)
Recorded June 21st 1940
Svend Erik TARP (1908-1994)

Her har hjertet hjemme (17)
Recorded November 11th 1940
Henrik RUNG (1807-1871)

I Danmark er jeg født (18)
Recorded November 11th 1940
Peter Erasmus LANGE-MÜLLER (1850-1926)

Der var engang: Serenade, Midsommervise (19), Renaissance: Serenade (20)
Recorded May 5th 1938 (19), August 28th 1940 (20)
Peter HEISE (1830-1879)

Jylland mellem tvende Have (21)
Recorded December 3rd 1940
Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911)

Venetiansk Serenade op. 24/3 (22)
Gustav V. LEMBCKE (1844-1899)

Majsang (23)
Georg RYGAARD (1894-1921)

Flaget (24)
Stephen FOSTER (1826-1864)

Majvise (to the tune of "Gentle Annie") (25)
22-25 recorded September 26th-27th 1938
Aksel Schiøtz (tenor), Herman D. Koppel (piano) (1-2, 4-6, 11-16), Chr. Christiansen (piano) (3), Aksel Agerby (piano) (7-10), Orchestra of Det Unge Tonekunstnerselskab/Mogens Wöldike (17-18), Royal Orchestra and Choir, Copenhagen/Johan Hye-Knudsen (19-21), Orchestra/Aage Juhl Thomson (22-25)
Locations (presumably Danish) not given; dates as above
Original HMV recordings transferred at the Abbey Road Studios by Andrew Walter


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Other volumes: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6][7] [8] [9] [10]


Brief biographical notes on the great Danish tenor Aksel Schiøtz can be found in my review of Vol. 1.

Vol. 7 sets aside the chronological survey of Danish song begun in Vols. 5 and 6 (it is resumed in Vol. 8 which is largely centred around Peter Heise) and presents firstly a group of songs with piano from the post-Nielsen era and secondly a more mixed (not only Danish) sequence of recordings with orchestra, ending up, presumably because there was nowhere else for it to go, with an anonymous but technicoloured version (complete with cornet solo) of Stephen Fosterís Gentle Annie.

If you look at the dates of the composers and imagine you will be getting a glimpse of the Danish equivalent of Ireland, Warlock or Finzi in Great Britain, well no, what you are getting is more the equivalent of the sort of English songs that were being recorded in the same period by the likes of John McCormack and Peter Dawson. Not to say this is bad, but the question as to what the Danish equivalent of the three British composers mentioned might be does not get an answer here. Though Danacord have done such sterling work for Danish composers, songs do not seem a high priority and at present we can only wonder what the large quantity of songs by Rued Langgaard are like, and whether Louis Glass, for example wrote any, and what about Vagn Holmboe? And indeed, what about Schiøtzís faithful pianist Herman D. Koppel, who certainly composed prolifically and some of whose instrumental music is available from Danacord?

But to return to what we have here, two tendencies may be identified. One is that of the simple strophic song, come down from Weyse through Rung and Hartmann. This, as Arne Helmanís once-again informative notes explain, became connected with the "folkelig" movement. Helman explains that "The word is used about democratic and cultural awareness in the people. A hundred years ago there was a broad movement of enlightenment and cultural participation within the Danish farming population, maturing it for political power." He goes on to say that "There was a demand for fresh songs to go with the movement. Carl Nielsen, Thomas Laub, Thorvald Aagaard, Oluf Ring met the challenge, composed for and jointly edited a striking book of Ďfolkeligeí songs. These songs should be easy, but of high literary and musical quality. Till this day such songs bind the Danish people together, from the queen to school-children".

So if many of the songs which open this disc sound as if they are intended more for unison singing than as solo pieces, that is exactly what they are intended for; and if they are still so used in Danish schools today (as I believe) then this can only contribute to the nationís cultural level. Long may their use continue, and it must be a wonderful inspiration for the children, having studied a song, to hear what colour and expression a great singer such as Aksel Schiøtz can give to the words and the melody.

But at the same time, I can understand why they are little known outside Denmark. While a non-Danish singer might take up a piece of great melodic beauty such as Hartmannís Laer mig, Natterns Stjerne, study the pronunciation phonetically with passable results and win over even Danish listeners by sheer beautiful singing, I canít see a non-Danish speaker ever getting really inside these pieces, or a non-Danish-speaking public appreciating them fully. For myself, a non-Danish-speaker, I found attractive those whose piano parts had a little more in them, to bring them closer to the art-song as it is generally understood. These were Thomsonís Til Glæden and Agerbyís Majnat and Havren. I thought the former so beautiful that I could take easily all five verses. This is a song which could travel outside Denmark. At this point the disc begins to chart another trend in Danish song writing, for Agerbyís other alter ego was that of the drawing-room composer. High-level drawing-room music, to be sure (and he accompanies his four songs very effectively himself, too), while the following two by Mogens Schrader are more tawdry and are saved only by Schiøtzís caressing tones and gentle rubato. I can only too well imagine (and I hope never to hear) what your average stentorian tenor might make of them.

The folk-tune Jeg gik mik ud en Sommerdag appeared in Vol. 6 in a more effective arrangement, with chorus, by Henrik Rung. That recording dates from 1942 and surely supersedes completely the anonymous (in more senses than one) arrangement heard here. With the next two songs we are back to the "folkelig" trend. Riisagerís "Mother Denmark", originally intended for a cabaret artist, was recorded with Gerald Moore in London in 1939; as far as the singer is concerned there is little to choose between the two; however, Koppel is having an off-day and lags irritatingly behind Schiøtz, leaving a preference for the version with Moore.

Rungís I Danmark er jeg født opened Vol. 6. Here it makes a stronger impression with orchestral accompaniment (is the orchestration Rungís own?). Partly because in the place of the too retiring Chr. Christiansen at the piano we have Mogens Wöldike in clearly dedicated form but above all because Schiøtz himself is in especially fine voice.

The two items from Lange-Müllerís Der var engang (Once upon a time) were remade in 1941 with the same conductor, Hye-Knudsen. Vocally they seem equally fine. The later version has the voice more forward, almost aggressively so, while the earlier one is more honeyed and better integrated. Hear the first entry of the voice in the Serenade over the chorus (a very effective idea on the part of the composer); the 1938 recording has it just right. The Serenade from Lange-Müllerís Renaissance is a highly attractive piece, too, as is the Venetian Serenade by the Norwegian Svendsen. As for the Rygaard piece, Helman comments naughtily "It is debatable if ĎThe Flagí should be sung in a refined manner. It was Lauritz Melchiorís favourite Danish song which he gave the full treatment". I was heartily grateful for Schiøtzís refinement.

Though I personally enjoyed this disc I canít claim it has high priority for the general listener. It depends how interested you are in Danish music as a whole, and in Schiøtz, who sings as finely as ever.

Christopher Howell

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