Ingen Blomst i Verdens Lande
Peter A HEISE (1830 – 1879)
Digte fra det Engelske
1. Pilen og Sangen (Longfellow) [2:02]
2. Vandrerne (Shelley) [1:47]
3. Ingen Blomst i Verdens Lande (Byron) [2:30]
4. Ekko (Moore) [1:55]
5. Bryd! Bryd! Bryd! (Tennyson) [2:16]
6. Vaage maa jeg, ak! (Burns) [2:35]
Friedrich KUHLAU (1786 – 1832)
7. Rastlose Liebe* (Goethe) [3:08]
Drey Gedichte aus Gerstenbergs poetischen Wäldchen, Op 21
8. Der erste Mai [2:22]
9. Der Traum [3:54]
10. Orpheus [7:40]
Christan BARNEKOW (1837 – 1913)
Fire folkesange efter det russiske ved Thor Lange, Op. 14
11. Hört jeg har* [3:18]
12. Skin du frem* [3:19]
13. Ak, paa Gjaerdet Pilen laette Knopper saetter* [4:50]
14. Fjernt paa Marken staar den slanke Hvidbirk * [2:52]
Julius BECHGAARD (1843 – 1917)
Lyriske Sange: Digte af Ernst v d Recke, Op. 19
15. Tidt, naar jeg sidder ene paa mit Kammer [2:46]
16. Mig tyktes, du stod ved mit Leje [2:46]
17. Duggen er falden [2:52]
18. Hun er saa let som Skovens fejre Hind [1:53]
19. Hun sover i Ly af den blomstrende Lind [2:00]
20. Hvorhen i Verden jeg gaar min Sti [4:12]
21. Blomst Underskjön: Der voxer en Blomst [5:04]
Erik Bekker Hansen (tenor), Camilla Toldi Bugge* (soprano), Ellen Refstrup (piano)
rec. February – June 2010, Kammermusiksalen, Musikhuset Aarhus, Denmark
sung texts and English translations enclosed

Several discs with Danish songs have come my way for review during the last couple of years. Here is still another with a quartet of 19th century composers, of whom Kuhlau probably is the best known internationally. His chamber music for flute and his piano sonatas have had rather wide circulation but to generations of Danes it is his incidental music for Elverhöj that everybody knows. Born in Germany in 1786 he fled from military service in 1810 and was thus a grown-up man when he arrived in Copenhagen. It was natural for him to set German verses. But both Heise and Barnekow also turned to foreign poetry although they set it in Danish translation.

Heise is regarded as one of the foremost Danish song composers, next to Carl Nielsen, and he has a personal style, rather Danish in spite of the English origin of the poems. The title of this CD is from Lord Byron (tr. 3) and that song is perhaps the finest of all on this disc. But all six have something that make them stand out, not least Ekko (tr. 4).

Kuhlau’s setting of Goethe Rastlose Liebe, (tr. 7) is fine with echoes of Beethoven and Weber. Of the other songs by him Orpheus (tr. 10) is grand, more a dramatic scena.

The four duets by Barnekow are simple and delicious settings of Russian folksongs with attractive melodies, apart from the last of them, which is powerful and dramatic with a clear religious message. Bechtgaard wrote almost 200 songs, very often in the shape of cycles. These seven lyric songs are the only ones on the disc with original Danish texts. I was not familiar with this composer before but he turned out to be maybe the most interesting of the four. Hun er saa let som Skovens fejre Hind (tr. 16) is a gem, light and whirling with a heavier and darker third stanza but it returns to the light-hearted mood in the last. There is a welcome freshness to all of his songs.

Erik Bekker Hansen has a lightish, basically soft lyric tenor voice. His ability to change vocal colours is limited but he has fine sense for the texts and can be quite expressive. In the heavier songs he is sometimes overtaxed and sounds strained and adopts a vibrato that becomes prominent. Camilla Toldi Bugge is clear-voiced and makes a good impression in the Goethe song but in some of the duets she tends to glare. Erik Bekker Hansen’s regular pianist Ellen Refstrup is a splendid accompanist and the recording is well balanced.

Erik Bekker Hansen is no Aksel Schiøtz but he is more than acceptable and the disc is worth hearing for some fine songs.

Göran Forsling

Worth hearing for some fine songs.