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Love Songs
see end of review for track listing
Mathias Hedegaard (tenor), Tove Lønskov (piano)
rec. DR Concert Hall, 12-13, 15-16 October 2009
sung texts with English and German translations enclosed
full tracklist at end of review
DACAPO 8.226141 [68:47]

Experience Classicsonline

Scandinavian songs in general don’t seem to have had very much international response. True, the output of Grieg and Sibelius is fairly well known. Some Swedish songs have also achieved an occasional airing through famous singers like Björling, Nilsson, Gedda and Söderström. That said, I doubt that the treasury of Danish songs has reached far beyond the specialist collectors. Aksel Schiøtz recorded a number of Carl Nielsen’s songs some seventy years ago and they have no doubt reached legendary status but besides that very little is heard, I’m afraid; so much more the pity since there is a lot to admire. On this disc Dacapo present love songs by three important composers, representing three consecutive periods of the 19th century.

Chronological order of the composers would had been even more enlightening but as it is we get a fair picture of the best of Danish song writing from the period before Carl Nielsen.

Heise’s Tannhäuser settings – the lyrics by the highly accomplished Holger Drachmann – are attractive. I skoven er der så stille (The forest is so silent), the fifth, is a true gem, serene and beautiful – just as the title says – but the various songs from some of Heise’s other collections are even more charming in their Schumannesque dress. Christian Winther’s Vårsang I host (Spring Song in Autumn) is fresh but agitated. Til en veninde (To a lady friend) is lyric and simple. The through-composed Skønne fru Beatriz (The Lovely Lady Beatriz) is expressive and Skovensomhed (Forest Solitude) is calm and beautiful, sung with fine legato.

Weyse, born in Germany but a Danish citizen from the age of fifteen, is best remembered for his symphonies. He was greatly admired by Mozart’s widow Constanze, who lived in Copenhagen for a number of years. Most of the songs represented here are from various Singspiele and plays. They are quite charming, simple, mostly strophic songs. Born four years after Beethoven he was steeped in the Classicism of Haydn and Mozart.

Lange-Müller was probably the most accomplished song-writer in his time and is highly regarded in Denmark. Most of his creations are rather melancholy but they are harmonically thrilling and there are touches of impressionism. Tre sange ved havet (Three Songs by the Sea) possibly represent Lange-Müller at his best. They strike an ideal balance between the voice and the expressive piano accompaniments.

Mathias Hedegaard has a light lyric tenor, very agreeable and he makes the most of these songs. Occasionally, under pressure, his tone becomes rather hard and strident, but most of the time he is well suited to the music and he obviously loves the music. He is well assisted by Tove Lønskov and the recording is out of Dacapo’s top drawer. Danish readers probably don’t need any encouragement to rush to the nearest record store – if there is one – and buy this issue. This should be an enticing eye (or rather ear) opener for other readers as well.

Göran Forsling

Full track listing:
Peter Arnold HEISE (1830 – 1879)
Farlige Drømme
from the story Tannhäuser (1878) [9:59]
1. Du laegger dig ned en aftenstund [2:15]
2. Hvor engen har foldet ved mosens bred [1:16]
3. Det blinker med perler [1:03]
4. Så lad sangen i salene bruse [1:03]
5. I skoven er der så stille [2:15]
6. Den blomstrende sommer blev kaedet til høst [2:08]
7. Vårsang i høst (No. 1 in Kaerlighedssange)(1855) [2:51]
8. Til en veninde (No. 1 in Erotiske Digte)(1878) [2:19]
9. Når svanen drømmende (No. 2 in Lauras Sange af Robert Fultom)(1853) [3:12]
10. Skønne fru Beatriz (No. 7 in Digte fra Middelalderen)(1875) [3:02]
11. Skovensomhed (No. 4 in Erotiske Digte)(1878) [3:05]
Christoph Ernst Friedrich WEYSE (1774 – 1842)
12. Skøn jomfru, luk dit vindue op (from the singspiel Sovedrikken)(1809) [2:01]
13. Dubt skoven bruser (from the play Sankt Hansaften-spil)(1803) [1:34]
14. Mit elskte barn (c. 1829) [2:33]
15. Man siger, hjertet har wj rum (from the singspiel Et Eventyr i Rosenborg Have) (1827) [3:03]
16. Det var ridder hr. Åge (from the play Axel og Valborg)(c. 1811) [4:40]
17. Der er en ø i livet (from the singspiel Ludlams Hule) (1816) [3:03]
18. Signelil (1817) [3:28]
Peter Erasmus LANGE-MÜLLER (1850 – 1926)
19. Skin du, du klare solskin (No. 4 in Seks Folkeviser, Op. 18)(1882) [1:08]
20. Himlen ulmer svagt i flammerødt (No. 1 in ’Når sol går ned’, Stemninger fra Rusland, Op. 19) (1883) [2:52]
21. Silde den aften (No. 3 in Otte Folkeviser, Op. 34) (1888) [1:33]
22. Lille røde rønnebaer (No. 3 in Seks Folkeviser, Op. 18)(1882) [0:50]
23. Ved løvfaldstid (No. 2 in Fire Digte, Op. 31)(1886) [3:34]
24. I Würzburg ringe de klokker (No. 6 in Otte Folkeviser, Op. 34)(1888) [1:49]
25. Åkande (No. 2 in Tre Digte, Op. 4) (1875) [1:57]
Tre Sange ved Havet, Op. 54 (1896) [7:56]
26. Snart er de lyse naetters tid forbi [2:10]
27. Og da jeg sejled dit hus forbi [2:33]
28. Jeg sejled en nat over havet [3:13]
29. Genboens første vise (No. 1 in Op. 13, songs from the play I Mester Sebalds Have)(1881) [2:18]































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