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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    


RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957)
Unter Sternen (1941-43): Trost der Kreatur; Sonnenuntergang; Siehst du den stern; Stille der Nacht; Unter Sternen; Abendlied an die natur; Unruhe der Nacht; Waldlied I; Waldlied II; Stilleben; Das Tal; Abendlied; Wir wähnten lange rechtt zu leben; Flackre, ew'ges Licht im Tal; Die Zeit geht nicht; Trübes Wetter; Frühgesicht; Frühlingsglaube; In der Trauer; Den Zweifellosen I und II; Tod und Dichter; An das Herz; Ein Tagewerk I und II.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (bar)
Hartmut Höll (piano)
rec. Berlin, Feb 1986, DDD
CLAVES CD 50-8606 [58.25]
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  These songs could not have existed without Schumann and the sweet tradition of German folksong though they are not so enchained to those origins as to merely imitate. The resilient nostalgic tradition kept itself in flower and fruit as late as these songs dating from some 120 years after the decades when the Lied was at its perigee. Written at the height of the Second World War the cycle carries no hints of world events. The melodic contours are always in touch with 'song' even if occasionally the trance-like lunar states implied by Keller's poems are subtly coloured with dodecaphonic apparatus most evident in the piano line. The music also carries the stigmata of expressionism so the cover illustration (jewelled detail from a Klimt) is apposite.

The range of mood is wider than the first three songs suggest however many are moderato as befits a starry philosophical stance. Few of them are less than lovely. There are some faster moving songs such as Unter Sternen (tr. 5) and Unruhe der Nacht (tr. 7). Waldlied II (tr. 9) is a notably fine and statuesque song. Several are serenades or have that character: In der Trauer (tr. 19) and Ein Tagewerk I (tr. 23). I can see these melancholic-ecstatic songs appealing to devotees of Gurney (Five Elizas and the F W Harvey settings) or Warlock (Here Lies a Most Beautiful Lady or In an Arbour Green).

The German notes are by Georg-Albrecht Eckle and are translated to French and English. The sung texts are printed but there are no translations.

Fischer-Dieskau, fresh, intelligently etching every syllable, makes wondrous use of a voice that should, by the time of these sessions, have been threadbare. Compare the quaver and tremble of John Carol Case's 1970s Lyrita LP of Let Us Garlands Bring. DF-D must have had a Dorian Gray portrait in the basement! He is also fortunate in the sympathetic and sensitive company of Hartmut Höll.


Rob Barnett


 


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FREE SOUND SAMPLES
(minimum 30 secs)

O. SCHOECK
Unter Sternen

Trost der Kreatur
Sonnenuntergang
Siehst du den Stern
Stille der Nacht
Unter Sternen
Abendlied an die Natur
Unruhe der Nacht
Waldlied I
Waldlied II
Stilleben
Das Tal
Abendlied
Wir waehnten lange recht zu leben
Flackre, ew'ges Licht im Tal
Die Zeit geht nicht
Truebes Wetter
Fruehgesicht
Fruehlingsglaube
In der Trauer
Den Zweifellosen I und II
Tod und Dichter
An das Herz
Ein Tagewerk I und II







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