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CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Complete Songs
CD 1

1. Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge, KV 596* [2:34]
2. Der Frühling, KV 597** [3:02]
3. Das Kinderspiel, KV 598* [1:47]
4. Auf die feierliche Johannisloge, KV 148** [2:19]
5. Lied zur Gesellenreise, KV 468** [2:19]
6. Lantate: Die Ihr des Unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt, KV 619** [6:47]
7. Wie unglücklich bin ich nit, KV 147* [0:55]
8. Komm, liebe Zither, komm, KV 351**† [2:05]
9. Die Verachweigung, KV 518* [4:13]
10. An Chloë, KV 524** [2:30]
11. Der Zauberer, KV 472* [2:12]
12. Das Lied der Trennung, KV 519** [4:51]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
13. Luisens Antwort, D.319* [3:08]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
14. Die betrogene Welt, KV 474** [3:17]
15. Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte, KV 520* [1:39]
16. Lied des Freiheit, KV 506** [2:20]
17. Oiseaux, si tous les ans, KV 307* [1:29]
18. Dans un bois solitaire, KV 308** [2:52]
Josef MYSLIVEČEK (1737–1787) (arr. MOZART)
19. Ridente la calma, KV 152* [3:19]
CD 2

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Die Zufriedenheit: Was frag ich viel nach Geld und Gut, KV 349**
1. Version with mandolin accompaniment† [2:40]
2. Version with piano accompaniment [1:43]
3. An die Freude, KV 53* [2:57]
4. Verdankt sei es dem Glanz der Großen, KV 392** [2:27]
5. Sei du mein Trost, KV 391* [2:43]
6. Ich würd auf meinem Pfad, KV 390** [1:59]
7. Die Zufriedenheit: Wie sanft, wie ruhig fühl’ ich hier, KV473* ** [2:54]
8. Die Alte, KV 517* [3:17]
9. Die kleine Spinnerin, KV 531* [2:17]
10. Lied beim Auszug in das Feld, KV 552** [1:42]
Zwei deutsche Kirchenlieder, KV 343
11. O Gottes Lamm, dein Leben* [2:02]
12. Als aus Ägypten Israel** [1:38]
13. Des kleinen Friedrichs Geburtstag, KV 529* [2:19]
14. Das Veilchen, KV 476* [2:38]
15. Das Traumbild, KV 530** [3:56]
16. Abendempfindung an Laura, KV 523* [4:44]
17. Einsam bin ich, meine Liebe, KV Anh. 26** (fragment) [1:12]
Ruth Ziesak (soprano)*; Lothar Odinius (tenor)**; Ariane Lorch (mandolin)†; Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano) (all tracks except †)
rec. DeutschlandRadio Kultur Studio, Siemens Villa, Berlin Lankwitz, Germany, 25-30 September 2006, 12-14 February 2007
Sung texts and translations can be accessed at
NAXOS 8.557900-01 [53:40 + 43:07]


Experience Classicsonline

I know the metaphor has been used before but the record business is sometimes very similar to the London buses: you wait and wait in vain and then suddenly they appear two or three in succession. There hasn’t been a set of the complete Mozart songs for many a moon that I know of but in March this year soprano Sophie Karthäuser and baritone Stephan Loges with Eugene Asti appeared with a wholly delightful set (review) and here, less than half a year later, comes Ruth Ziesak and Lothar Odinius with another complete set. In fact theirs is ‘even more complete’. They give us two versions of Die Zufriedenheit KV 349, one with piano and the other with mandolin, and they differ quite a lot. They also include two German church songs KV 343, probably composed in Salzburg 1779, and finally a fragment, Einsam bin ich, meine Liebe, that so to speak ends in mid-air. In a couple of the songs they also include more verses than Karthäuser and Loges. Completists may want the Naxos for these additions but, honestly, they don’t add much to the general picture of Mozart’s vocal writing: the two church songs are agreeable in all their simplicity but easily forgotten. The concluding fragment hardly begins until it is over, while the alternative mandolin version of Die Zufriedenheit is interesting as not being just a transcription. It is probably the original and it is simpler and more like a folksong to fit in with the discreet accompaniment. Those who already own the Karthäuser/Loges set need not rush to the record store.

This is not to say that the Naxos set lacks merit. Ulrich Eisenlohr – the mastermind behind the Naxos complete Schubert cycle – is at the piano. The experienced Lieder singers Ruth Ziesak and Lothar Odinius – both also taking part in the Schubert cycle – share the songs and in a couple of instances singing together. With this in mind we can rest assured that there is a great deal of accomplishment here.

The distribution of songs between the two singers differs quite a lot, even though in quite a few instances the women are allotted the same songs and the men the same, so there is ample room for direct comparison. Both ladies have fresh, light and glittering voices and seem ideal for lyric Mozart and both have frequently sung roles like Pamina in the theatre. The first song on the Naxos set, Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge – the theme of which also appears as the theme of the final movement of Mozart’s last piano concerto – turned out to be instructive as comparison. Ruth Ziesak is truly spring-like in her reading, singing like a rippling spring brook; Sophie Karthäuser is a mite – but just a mite – less brilliant but just as affecting. However – and this was practically my only objection to her singing in my original review – she is so fast that she seems rushed and the song loses some of its charm. This is again noticeable in Der Kinderspiel, where Ziesak is eager and soubrettish, even childlike, while Karthäuser and Loges sing it as a duet and are even more lively – but also slightly rushed. The same thing happens again once or twice with Ziesak sounding more balanced, more relaxed and Karthäuser more forward-moving and eager but not so warm. By and large these two sopranos are extremely accomplished and it is only natural that close comparison can sometimes lead to a listener preferring the one in certain songs and the other in other songs. Ziesak is certainly lovely all through the Naxos set and if I single out Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte as possibly the best thing in the whole programme, the next moment I feel the same about Der Zauberer and Ridente le calma and …

As for that lovely song readers may flinch when they see it attributed to Josef Mysliveček. Recent research has led scholars to believe it was a work by the Czech composer, since there exists in the National Library in Paris a version of the song for voice and orchestra under Mysliveček’s name, which differs only slightly from Mozart’s version. The two composers met in Bologna in 1772 and became friends and Mozart’s song was only published after his death, Constanze claiming it to be an original work.

Some readers may also raise an eyebrow when seeing a Schubert song included in this programme. But there is an explanation to this in Eisenlohr’s exhaustive liner-notes. Ludwig Theobul Kosegarten’s poem Luisens Antwort, which Schubert set, was written as a direct answer to Schmidt’s Das Lied der Trennung and there are, as Eisenlohr says, ‘echoes of Mozart’ in Schubert’s music. It is even possible that Schubert knew Mozart’s song. Luisen’s Antwort is well sung by Ziesak and the Mozart song is sung with plangent tone and nervous insight by Lothar Odinius. This is one of his best interpretations as is his reading of the remarkable cantata Die Ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt, KV 619, dramatic and with roots in Freemasonry. It was written in July 1791, when he was also working on Die Zauberflöte, which is KV 620, and also contains references to the Masonic world. Odinius’s reading is powerful and filled with pathos. The darker tenor voice seems to me preferable to Karthäuser’s lighter soprano, although there is no lack of drama in her reading. Odinius is generally keen with words and he uses his voice with great flexibility but compared with Stephan Loges’s extremely nuanced singing he sometimes feels a bit prosaic.

He sings Komm, liebe Zither with mandolin accompaniment and the soft and recessed sounds of the instrument inspire him to a likewise scaled-down reading, mellifluous and beautiful. Loges, with much more active accompaniment, is livelier and faster and with no lack of beauty and nuance. Odinius is a lyric tenor but he has weighty tone and I wouldn’t be surprised if he will before long be singing heavier repertoire as a complement to the Mozartean roles. His powerful An Chloë points in that direction, strong but nuanced. Like Loges he decorates the melodic line tastefully. Ich würd auf meinem Pfad and Das Traumbild are other highlights on this set.

Ulrich Eisenlohr’s accompaniments are mainly unobtrusive and supportive rather than ends in themselves, which no doubt was Mozart’s intention. The recording can’t be faulted. Whichever of the two sets one chooses one will be richly rewarded. Forced to make a choice I would opt for the Karthäuser/Loges set, primarily for the superbly nuanced singing of Stephan Loges, but no one buying the Naxos set is likely to be disappointed. Diehard lovers of these songs need both sets.

Göran Forsling 



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