Gerard Hoffnung CDs
Der Wanderer [4:57]; Auf dem Wasser
zu singen [2:57]; Der Wanderer an den Mond [5:22]; Wanderers
Nachtlied [2.27]; Abendstern [4:46]; Abschied [3:32]; Im
Fruhling [3:24]; Der Doppelganger [6:10]; Die Taubenpost
[2:56]; An den Mond [3:52]; Standchen [4:34]; Du bist die
Ruh [5:15]; Zum Rundentanz [3:11]; Im Abendrot [3:44];
Seligkeit [2:45]; Abschied (Uber die Berge) [5:36]; I’m
a stranger (On the Danube) [2:47]
rec. Konzertsaal des Tiroler Landeskonservatoriums, Innsbruck,
16-17 February, 2007.
COL LEGNO WWE1CD20301 [69:11]
Here is a disc entitled Schubertlieder. It’s bound to
raise expectations. Well, you may be in for a bit of a shock
you start playing it.
It is patently not a recital of Schubert songs, as delightful as that
prospect may appear. However, it is a highly entertaining,
original and, in many ways, challenging exploration of the
works of this prolific composer of vocal gems. The music
is written by Markus Kraler and Andreas Schett and they acknowledge
their indebtedness to the lieder composer.
The music on the album was composed for the ‘wo du nicht bist’ (Where
you are not) music and image theatre project which Franui,
together with the Berlin theatre group Nico and the Navigators
performed for the Kunst aus der Zeit. This was part of the
2006 Bregenz Festival. It was later repeated in the Sophiesalen
Concert Hall in Berlin.
Franui explain, in their cover-notes, that their interpretations are
a ‘liberating blow’. They ridicule those tense recitals where
people, dressed up to the nines, sit in serried rows, attentively
listening to a stuffed shirt singing these intimate songs
which reflect the innermost feelings of an often troubled
composer. ‘Great art is always mixed with torment,’ they
But what a difference this compilation makes. The ensemble produces
some challenging, even bizarre, combinations. It’s really
something we should expect, given that the orchestrator’s
palette includes a violin and a double-bass, clarinets, saxophones,
trumpets, cornets, a trombone and tuba, a harp, dulcimer
and zither, as well as an accordion and three male voices.
The result is something which sometimes approaches the rather decadent
dance-like music of Weill from the 1930s. At other times,
it is gentle, evocative and soul-searching. Take, for instance,
the highly familiar Ständchen – which is almost eerie
and could easily accompany one of those dusty 1960s monochrome
Or there is the teasingly, fun-loving Abschied as well as the
equally light-hearted Die Taubenpost. But, for a perfectly
Weill-inspired bit of cabaret, try I’m a Stranger (On
the Danube). Here, Sven-Eric Bechtolf is the guest soloist,
where his Sprechstimme – where the text is spoken in a rhythmic
and almost melodic way – adds marvellously to the tension
of a rather sad piece which is turned into a gentle entertainment.
This has brought Schubert’s art into a modern context, albeit inspired
by a trend which hit its height of popularity nearly eighty
years ago. It is a fine experiment – and it works.
Glyn Mon Hughes
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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