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Hugo WOLF (1860 – 1903)
The Anniversary Edition
see end of review for details
rec. 1955-2005. ADD/DDD
EMI CLASSICS 6886082 [8 CDs: 78:03 + 77:24 + 62:44 + 71:39 + 75:05 + 61:41 + 79:13 + 65:33]
Sung texts with translations can be found on the bonus CD-ROM in PDF form, which can be accessed from any computer equipped with CD-ROM drive and Adobe Acrobat 6.0

Experience Classicsonline

The songs of Hugo Wolf have been extensively recorded since the early days of the gramophone. Elisabeth Schumann, Lotte Lehmann, Heinrich Schlusnus and Karl Erb, four of the most important Lieder singers of the interwar years, championed Wolf – and many others as well.

A gigantic project was started in 1931 by the Hugo Wolf Society in harness with His Master’s Voice. Six albums, each containing six Red Label discs, were issued during the rest of the decade with singers like Elena Gerhardt, Elisabeth Rethberg, Tiana Lemnitz, John McCormack, Gerhard Hüsch, Herbert Janssen, Friedrich Schorr and Alexander Kipnis. This remained the classic collection for many years.

During the LP era several great singers issued Wolf records, the most comprehensive effort was DG’s three boxes with a total of 9 LPs. The artists were the indefatigable Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Daniel Barenboim. A reissue of those recordings would be a marvellous tribute to Wolf during this centenary year.

EMI’s tribute, now under consideration, is however a truly tempting bait, encompassing practically every song of some importance in recordings spanning 60 years, from 1955 to 2005 and starring some of the best Lieder singers during this period. And what better pianists could one dream of? Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons take the lion’s share and Helmut Deutsch, Antonio Pappano and, briefly, Erik Werba, are also reliable names.

It is quite possible to acquire a superb collection through buying separate discs from sundry companies but it would be much more expensive and involve a lot of duplication. Of the two song-books, the Italian and the Spanish, there are several recommendable versions. I have a soft spot for the old DG set with Seefried and Fischer-Dieskau and, perhaps even more, for the Philips set with Ameling and Souzay in the Italian Song Book. Likewise DG managed to record the Spanish Song Book with Schwarzkopf, F-D and Gerald Moore. Long-time acquaintance with recordings can often result in uncritical nostalgia but I think I am fairly objective in my views about those sets. However, sampling a considerable number of individual songs from those song-books on the EMI box has convinced me that they too belong to the top contenders. Dawn Upshaw is lovely and youthful, more so than Seefried and Ameling. Olaf Bär, here quite early in his career, is a match for both Souzay and Fischer-Dieskau. I have to admit also – though some readers may think I’m just a chauvinist – that the slightly ageing Schwarzkopf in the Spanish Song Book is over-sophisticated whereas von Otter almost twenty years ago was at her freshest and still so wonderfully expressive and sensitive.

That Thomas Allen is a marvellous Lieder singer is well known, not only among British readers, and he was also at the height of his powers around 1990. Just two contrasting examples: the beautifully restrained Anakreons Grab and the intense and verbally so expressive Der Rattenfänger. I have occasionally had some reservations about some of Ian Bostridge’s Schubert recordings – though I have also admired much of what he does – but here in some of Wolf’s best known songs he is outstanding in every respect. Verschwiegene Liebe and even more Verborgenheit have rarely been so beautifully performed, not to mention Gebet and An der Schlaf. His high reputation is well deserved. Bostridge has CD 4 all to himself and CD 5 is the domain of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. I had most of these recordings on LP and have returned to them on many occasions. These are marvellous readings, detailed but not, to my mind at least, over-sophisticated in the way she can occasionally be in Spanisches Liederbuch. Just savour her Tretet ein, hoher Krieger.

CD 6 is Fischer-Dieskau at his most glorious and these recordings are classics to set beside his various versions of Die Winterreise. Every phrase, every word is so well considered – and still he sounds almost improvisatory. A mastersinger!

On CD 7 Olaf Bär returns with more lovely singing. In some, but not all, cases I have to say that I find him too slow. Der Gärtner, was one of the first Wolf songs I bought in the 1960s in a version with Ernst Häfliger and that is still my ideal. And Storchenbotschaft, that dramatic and humoristic masterpiece, is also a bit understated. I vividly remember Christa Ludwig’s quite early recording. But Bär is as sophisticated and expressive as usual. Thomas Allen is more straightforward but also he is sensitive to nuance. An eine Aolsharfe is typical for him.

Going from Allen’s recordings to Fischer-Dieskau’s almost 25 years older ones reveals the advances in recording technique. In the face of such artistry one soon adjusts. On CD 8 the highlight is Wanderers Nachtlied, so marvellously sung.

The remaining songs are obviously from some mixed recitals but they are wholly delightful. Helen Donath, accompanied by her husband, sings a fresh Er ist’s, Brigitte Fassbaender’s Lebe wohl demonstrated her deep understanding and projection of the text and the rather unknown Monika Frimmer rounds of this collection with an agreeable Lied vom Winde.

As I pointed out at the beginning of the review it is possible to shop around and get a fine Wolf collection, but why spend so much more money and time when this box is here, tailor-made for all but the most discriminating and for most readers this can very well be the only Wolf discs they will ever need.

Göran Forsling

 

Full tracklist
CD 1 [78:03]
Italienisches Liederbuch (1890 – 1891)
1. Auch kleine Dinge [2:28]
2. Gesegnet sei, durch den die Welt entstund [1:22]
3. Gesegnet sei das Grün [1:29]
4. Ihr seid die Allerschönste [1:34]
5. Man sagt mir, deine Mutter woll’ es nicht [0:58]
6. Heut Nacht erhob ich mich um Mitternacht [1:44]
7. O wär’ dein Haus durchsuchtig wie ein Glas [1:35]
8. Schon streckt’ ich aus im Bett [1:48]
9. Heb auf dein blondes Haupt [1:42]
10. Mein Liebster singt am Haus im Mondenscheine [1:24]
11. Ein Ständchen euch zu bringen [1:22]
12. Nicht länger kann ich singen [1:14]
13. Schweig einmal still [0:57]
14. O wüsstest du, wie viel ich deinetwegen [1:33]
15. Wer rief dich denn [1:02]
16. Wie soll ich fröhlich sein [1:33]
17. Du denkst mit einem Fädchen mir zu fangen [1:08]
18. Geselle, woll’n wir uns in Kutten hüllen [2:24]
19. Verschling’ der Abgrund meines Liebsten Hütte [1:19]
20. Nun lass uns Frieden schliessen [1:49]
21. Wohl kenn’ ich Euern Stand [1:52]
22. Wenn du mich mit Augen streifst [1:43]
23. Wenn du, mein Liebster, steigst zum Himmel auf [1:48]
24. Was für ein Lied soll dir gesungen werden [1:56]
25. Wir haben beide lange Zeit geschwiegen [2:10]
26. Und steht ihr früh am Morgen auf vom Bette [2:55]
27. Ihr jungen Leute [1:08]
28. Dass doch gemalt all deine Reize wären [2:17]
29. Mir ward gesagt, du reisest in die Ferne [2:01]
30. Und willst deinen Liebsten sterben sehen [2:07]
31. Sterb’ ich, so hüllt in Blumen meine Glieder [2:36]
32. Mein Liebster ist so klein [1:35]
33. Benedelt die sel’ge Mutter [3:19]
34. Ich esse nun mein Brot [1:50]
35. Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag’ erhoben [2:08]
36. Mein Liebster hat zu Tisch mich geladen [0:54]
37. Ich liess mir sagen, und mir ward erzählt [1:58]
38. Wie lange schon [2:43]
39. Wie viele Zeit verlor ich, dich zu lieben [1:27]
40. Was soll der Zorn, mein Schatz, der dich erhitzt [1:43]
41. Selig ihr Blinden [1:48]
42. Nein, junger Herr [0:44]
43. Hoffärtig seid ihr, schönes Kind [0:42]
44. Du sagst mir, dass ich keine Fürstin sei [1:20]
45. Lass sie nur geh’n, die so die Stolze spielt [1:32]
46. Ich hab’ in Penna [0:59]
Dawn Upshaw (soprano), Olaf Bär (baritone), Helmut Deutsch (piano)
rec. 1995

CD 2 [77:45]
Spanisches Liederbuch (1890 – 1891)
Geistliche Lieder (1 – 10)
1. Nun bin ich dein [5:00]
2. Nun wandre, Maria [2:58]
3. Die ihr schwebet [3:10]
4. Führ mich, Kind, nach Betlehem [3:09]
5. Ach, des Knaben Augen sind mich so schön’ [1:42]
6. Ach, wie lang die Seele schlummert [3:26]
7. Herr, was trägt der Boden hier [2:57]
8. Mühvoll komm’ ich und beladen [5:12]
9. Wunden trägst du, mein Geliebter [5:12]
10. Die du Gott gebarst, du Reine [3:19]
Weltliche Lieder (1 – 34)
11. Auf dem grünen Balkon [2:58]
12. Bitt ihn, o Mutter [1:37]
13. Alle gingen, Herz, zur Ruh [2:08]
14. Liebe mir im Busen zündet [1:02]
15. Schmerzliche Wonnen und wonnige Schmerzen [1:42]
16. Wenn du zu den Blumen gehst [3:13]
17. In dem Schatten meiner Locken [2:25]
18. Wer sein holdes Lieb verloren [2:19]
19. Eide, so die Liebe schwur [2:36]
20. Seltsam ist Juanas Weise [2:08]
21. Da nur Leid und Leidenschaft [2:47]
22. Mögen allen bösen Zungen [1:40]
23. Wer tat deinem Füsslein weh [2:10]
24. Wehe der, die mir verstrickte [1:29]
25. Treibe nur mit Lieben Spott [1:16]
26. Trau nicht der Liebe [2:57]
27. Herz, versage nicht geschwind [1:54]
28. Sagt, seid ihr es, feiner Herr [1:56]
29. Blinden Schauen, dunkle Leuchte [1:06]
30. Köpfchen, Köpfchen, nicht gewimmert [1:41]

CD 3 [62:44]
1. Deine Mutter, süsses Kind [1:16]
2. Sie blasen zum Abmarsch [2:40]
3. Weint nicht, ihr Äuglein [1:12]
4. Ach, im Maien war’s [1:51]
5. Tief im Herzen trag’ ich Pein [2:10]
6. Bedeckt mich mit Blumen [3:15]
7. Dereinst, dereinst, Gedanke mein [2:37]
8. Ich fuhr über Meer [1:37]
9. Klinge, klinge, mein Pandero [1:45]
10. Sagt ihm, dass er zu mir komme [2:10]
11. Ob auch finstre Blicke glitten [2:15]
12. Und schläfst du, mein Mädchen [1:01]
13. Komm, o Tod, von Nacht umgeben [3:34]
14. Geh, Geliebter, geh jetzt [4:00]
Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo), Olaf Bär (baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
rec. 1992 – 1994
Goethe-Lieder
15. Erschatten und Beleben [2:17]
16. Blumengruss [1:18]
17. Gleich und gleich [1:04]
18. Spottlied aus Wilhelm Meister [1:51]
19. Anakreons Grab [3:04]
20. Phänomen [2:06]
21. Harfenspieler I [3:40]
22. Harfenspieler II [2:50]
23. Harfenspieler III [2:47]
24. Der Rattenfänger [2:36]
25. Ob der Koran von Ewigkeit sei? [1:20]
26. Trunken müssen wir alle sein [1:18]
27. So lang man nüchtern ist [1:35]
28. Sie haben wegen der Trunkenheit [2:06]
29. Was in der Schenke waren heute [1:18]
Thomas Allen (baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
rec. 1991

CD 4 [71:38]
Eichendorff-Lieder
1. Der Musikant [1:38]
2. Verschwiegene Liebe [2:20]
3. Das Ständchen [2:16]
4. Nachtzauber [4:11]
5. Seemanns Abschied [2:05]
Mörike-Lieder
6. Der Genesene an die Hoffnung [4:07]
7. Der Knabe und das Immlein [3:00]
8. Begegnung [1:21]
9. Nimmersatte Liebe [2:19]
10. Verborgenheit [2:58]
11. Im Frühling [4:27]
12. Auf einer Wanderung [3:11]
13. Um Mitternacht [3:30]
14. Auf eines altes Bild [2:26]
15. Gebet [2:49]
16. An den Schlaf [2:54]
17. An die Geliebte [3:10]
18. Lied eines Verliebten [1:35]
19. Peregrina I [1:55]
20. Peregrina II [3:10]
21. Der Jäger [3:12]
22. Abschied [2:45]
Goethe-Lieder
23. Gutmann und Gutweib [4:47]
24. Ganymed [5:27]
Ian Bostridge (tenor), Antonio Pappano (piano)
rec. 2005

CD 5 [75:05]
Goethe-Lieder (1888-1889)
1. Mignon I [4:01]
2. Mignon II [2:19]
3. Mignon III [4:10]
4. Philine [3:18]
5. Mignon [6:57]
6. Epiphanias [4:39]
7. Sankt Nepomuks Vorabend [3:01]
8. Der Schäfer [2:22]
9. Die Spröde [2:00]
10. Die Bekehrte [2:51]
11. Frühling übers Jahr [1:58]
12. Hochbeglückt in deiner Liebe [1:56]
13. Als ich auf dem Euphrat schiffte [1:37]
14. Nimmer will ich dich verlieren! [1:12]
6 Lieder für eine Frauenstimme
15. Morgentau (1877) [1:39]
16. Das Vöglein (1878) [1:32]
17. Die Spinnerin (1878) [2:49]
18. Wiegenlied im Sommer (1882) [3:21]
19. Wiegenlied im Winter (1882) [3:42]
20. Mausfallensprüchlein (1882) [1:15]
Sechs alte Weisen (1890)
21. Tretet ein, hoher Krieger [2:48]
22. Singt mein Schatz wie ein Fink [1:10]
23. Du milchjunger Knabe [1:31]
24. Wandl’ ich dem Morgentau [2:07]
25. Das Köhlerweib ist trunken [1:15]
26. Wie glänzt der helle Mond [3:29]
Lieder
27. Die Zigeunerin (1887) [3:07]
28. Sonne der Schlummerlosen (1896) [2:43]
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
rec. 1956 – 1967

CD 6 [61:41]
Eichendorff-Lieder
1. Der Freund [2:06]
2. Der Soldat I [1:15]
3. Der Soldat II [0:46]
4. Der Schreckenberger [1:39]
5. Der Glücksritter [2:26]
6. Lieber alles [1:11]
7. Heimweh [2:09]
8. Der Scholar [2:22]
9. Der verzweifelte Liebhaber [0:55]
10. Unfall [1:10]
11. Liebesglück [1:11]
12. In der Fremde I [2:10]
13. Erwartung [2:12]
14. Die Nacht [2:39]
15. Nachruf [3:33]
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)
rec. 1960
Miscellaneous settings
16. Biterolf – Im Lager von Akkon 1190 [2:44]
17. Über Nacht [3:09]
18. Wo wird einst [2:34]
19. Morgenstimmung [2:55]
20. Lied des transferierten Zettel [1:02]
21. Gesellenlied [2:51]
22. Keine gleicht von allen Schönen [2:23]
23. Zur Ruh, zur Ruh [3:15]
Lieder von Michelangelo Buonarrotti
24. Wohl denk’ ich oft [2:26]
25. Alles endet, was entstehet [5:30]
26. Fühlt meine Seele [5:00]
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)
rec. 1959

CD 7 [79:13]
Mörike-Lieder
1. Neue Liebe [3:19]
2. Schlafendes Jesuskind [3:09]
3. Der Gärtner [1:37]
4. Auftrag [1:27]
5. Storchenbotschaft [4:10]
6. Bei einer Trauung [2:30]
7. Selbstgeständnis [1:16]
8. Auf eine Christblume I [6:20]
9. Auf eine Christblume II [2:01]
10. Zum neuen Jahr [1:48]
Olaf Bär (baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
rec. 1986
11. Fussreise [2:49]
12. Der Tambour [2:27]
13. Gesang Weylas [1:24]
14. Jägerlied [0:58]
15. Heimweh [3:49]
16. An eine Äolsharfe [6:17]
17. Elfenlied [1:57]
Thomas Allen (baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
rec. 1991
18. Seufzer [2:19]
19. Wo find’ ich Trost [4:50]
20. Zur Warnung [3:22]
21. In der Frühe [2:26]
22. Karwoche [3:28]
23. Denk es, o Seele! [2:50]
24. Die Geister am Mummelsee [3:24]
25. Zitronenfalter im April [1:44]
26. Der Feuerritter [2:13]
27. Der König bei der Krönung [2:21]
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)
rec. 1957 & 1959

CD 8 [65:33]
Mörike-Lieder
1. Der Sänger [6:42]
2. Der neue Amadis [2:12]
3. Genialisch Treiben [1:07]
4. Ritter Kurts Brautfahrt [5:44]
5. Frech und froh I [1:22]
6. Frech und froh II [1:06]
7. Cophtisches Lied I [3:01]
8. Cophtisches Lied II [2:04]
9. Beherzigung I [2:37]
10. Beherzigung II [2:02]
11. Dank des Paria [3:04]
12. Königlich Gebet [2:33]
13. Prometheus [7:55]
14. Grenzen der Menschheit [7:21]
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)
rec. 1960
15. Wanderers Nachtlied [3:21]
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)
rec. 1959
Mörike-Lieder
16. Er ist’s [1:22]
17. Nixe Binsefuss [2:05]
18. Das verlassene Mägdlein [3:32]
Helen Donath (soprano), Klaus Donath (piano)
rec. 1976
19. Frage und Antwort [1:44]
20. Lebe wohl! [1:56]
Brigitte Fassbaebder (mezzo-soprano), Erik Werba (piano)
rec. 1979
21. Lied vom Winde [2:31]
Monika Frimmer (soprano), Liese Klahn (piano)

 


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