Hugo WOLF (1860 – 1903) The Complete Songs - Vol 2
Mörike Lieder - part 2
1. Zum neuen Jahr (a) [2:09]
2. Gebet (c) [2:31]
3. An den Schlaf (a) [2:29]
4. Neue Liebe (b) [3:15]
5. Wo find ich Trost? (d) [5:18]
6. An die Geliebte (c) [3:21]
7. Peregrina I (d) [2:02]
8. Peregrina II (d) [3:33]
9. Frage und Antwort (a) [1:46]
10. Lebe wohl (b) [2:13]
11. Heimweh (d) [3:32]
12. Lied vom Winde (b) [2:32]
13. Denk es, o Seele! (b) [3:17]
14. Der Jäger (c) [3:08]
15. Rat einer Alten (b) [1:57]
16. Erstes Liebeslied eines Mädchens (a) [1:19]
17. Lied eines Verliebten (d) [1:31]
18. Der Feuerreiter (c) [5:06]
19. Nixe Binsefuss (a) [2:17]
20. Gesang Weylas (b) [1:51]
21. Die Geister am Mummelsee (d) [3:31]
22. Storchenbotschaft (b) [3:34]
23. Zur Warnung (d) [3:04]
24. Auftrag (c) [1:38]
25. Bei einer Trauung (a) [2:24]
26. Selbstgeständnis (c) [1:18]
27. Abschied (d) [3:23]
Sophie Daneman (soprano)(a); Anna Grevelius (mezzo)(b); James Gilchrist (tenor)(c); Stephan Loges (baritone)(d); Sholto Kynoch (piano)
rec. 23 October 2010, Holywell Music Room, Oxford, U.K.
sung texts with English translations enclosed
STONE RECORDS 5060192780093 [76:30]
This is the second instalment in what is planned to be a complete survey of Hugo Wolf’s songs. I reviewed Vol 1 some time ago with the same artists and found a great deal to admire. There were however some things that didn’t please me completely. Some of the singing was uneven, but since these are live recordings one has to accept certain deficiencies. Let me say at once, though, that the piano accompaniments are superbly executed throughout – as they were on volume 1. Sholto Kynoch was a new name to me then but quite recently I had an opportunity to hear him in the flesh at a recital in London, where I had confirmation that he is among the finest accompanists around.
Sophie Daneman’s bright soprano is always a pleasure to hear but here she is not always ideally steady and her vibrato is at times too prominent. Her floated pianissimos sometimes make me forgive some of the unsteadiness and towards the end of the programme she is in altogether better form with a splendid Erstes Liebeslied eines Mädchens (tr. 16) and a light, beautiful, springy Nixe Binsefuss (tr. 19).
James Gilchrist isn’t free from vibrato either and his tone sometimes has a bleating character. But he nuances well and the plangent tone can be very expressive. Try An die Geliebte (tr. 6), where his declamation of the text is excellent. He is even better in Der Jäger (tr. 14) and even challenges Helge Roswaenge’s legendary recording of Der Feuerreiter (tr. 18) with intensity almost on a par with the great Dane. In Auftrag (tr. 24) he is also in excellent voice – and his care over the texts is always in evidence.
Being a native German speaker Stephan Loges’ way with the texts is always idiomatic and he too is a dramatic singer. Wo find ich Trost? (tr. 5) is a fine calling-card as is Peregrina II (8). Elsewhere he can be rather shaky and his tone in Heimweh (tr. 11) is gritty. Mostly he is very good. His dramatic Die Geister am Mummelsee (tr. 21) is one of the highlights here.
Best of all, to my mind, is Anna Grevelius. Her voice is a flexible instrument, beautiful and even from top to bottom, and with a wide range of nuance and expressivity. Lebe wohl (tr. 10), one of the finest of the Mörike songs, is exquisitely sung, and so is another great song, Lied vom Winde (tr. 12). Her expressive Denk es, o Seele! (tr. 13) is given with excellent legato, Gesang Weylas (tr. 20) is noble and solemn and in Storchenbotschaft (tr. 22) she demonstrates what a splendid story-teller she is. I hope she will appear on other issues in this series.
The audience is uncommonly well-behaved: not a single distracting noise - and I was listening through headphones! Well-balanced recording and complete texts printed in the booklet – what more can you wish?
In sum: good production values and singing that is a bit uneven but on the whole fully acceptable. There are more hits than misses.
Good production values and singing that is a bit uneven but on the whole fully acceptable.