One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Deutsche Balladen
I. Freundschaft und Treue (Friendship and Fidelity)
Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856)
1. Die beiden Grenadiere, op. 49 No. 1 (H. Heine) [3:31]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828)
2. Die Bürgschaft D.246 (F. v. Schiller) [17:04]
Carl LOEWE (1796 – 1869)
3. Herr Oluf, Op. 2 No. 2 (J.G. Herder) [6:09]
II. Könige und Ritter (Kings and Knights)
Carl LOEWE
4. Odins Meeresritt, op. 118 (A.W. Schreiber) [4:43]
Franz SCHUBERT
5. Liedesend D. 473b (J.B. Mayrhofer) [5:20]
Franz LISZT (1811 – 1886)
6. Die Vätergruft S.281 (J.L. Uhland) [5:47]
Robert SCHUMANN
7. Der Sänger, op. Posth. 145 No. 3 (J.L. Uhland) [4:36]
Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871 – 1942)
8. Es war ein alter König (H. Heine) [2:12]
III. Geister und Gelichter (Ghosts and Phantoms)
Robert SCHUMANN
9. Belsazar Op. 57 (H. Heine) [4:13]
Carl LOEWE
10. Geisterleben op. 9 No. 4 (J.L. Uhland) [4:09]
11. Der Totentanz op. 44 No. 3 (J.W. v. Goethe) [4:11]
Alexander ZEMLINSKY
12. Waldgespräch (J. v. Eichendorff) [2:23]
Hugo WOLF (1860 – 1903)
13. Die Geister am Mummelsee (E. Mörike) [3:48]
14. Der Feuerreiter (E. Mörike) [5:23]
Kay Stiefermann (baritone), Alexander Schmalcz (piano)
rec. 4tune Studios, Vienna, 25-29 August 2013
No texts
CAPRICCIO C3002 [74:17]

The idea of presenting a programme with German ballads by several composers was a brilliant stroke of genius. With excellent execution and generous playing time this is a tempting proposition for lovers of German song. The songs are organized in three thematic groups and the mix of singers within each group is a guarantee of variety.

These ballads need a good, expressive story-teller. Seeing in the biography that Kay Stiefermann has taken part in master-classes with Hans Hotter is a good omen. Hotter’s recording of Schumann’s Die beiden Grenadiere is a long-time favourite and hearing it as the opening number of this disc I can only nod approvingly: he learnt his lesson from the legendary Wotan. Not that he is copying his teacher’s reading but he has adopted the expressive power, excellent enunciation and powerful delivery; add to these strengths that he has a good voice. This bodes well for the rest of the programme, and the next number, Schubert’s 17-minute-long Die Bürgschaft, could very well be a stumbling-block for any singer. So long a song needs a vocal actor of some stature, and Stiefermann delivers accordingly: histrionic story-telling with a rich palette of colours. His reading of Loewe’s Herr Oluf is light and elegant – and bombastic as well.

More Loewe follows in the next group with an ebullient performance of Odins Meeresritt. He impresses also greatly with his nuanced singing of Franz Liszt’s Der Vätergruft. His soft singing is utterly telling. Here we also meet Alexander Zemlinsky, whose music isn’t too often heard. That is a pity, since he has a great deal to offer. The Heine-setting Es war ein alter König is a little pearl. It should be noted that the order of this song and Schumann’s Der Sänger has been reversed in the track-list on the back cover.

The two Loewe songs in the third group are also gems, and in particular Der Totentanz with a hilarious piano accompaniment should be a great favourite. For Alexander Schmalcz, who throughout the recital is a pillar of strength, this is a real tour de force. The second Zemlinsky song, about the witch Loreley, is also fine and the two concluding poems by Mörike – as always drawing the best from Hugo Wolf – are true highlights. Der Feuerreiter is a thriller in this deeply involved reading by Kay Stiefermann, who all through the disc is very sensitive to the texts.

As on the companion recital featuring Thilo Dahlmann (review) there is minimal information about the music and only bios on the singer and the pianist. Considering that this is a rather unusual programme some background material wouldn’t have come amiss. The sung texts can be had as a download from the web but it is no doubt more convenient to have them on an extra inlay. Since the disc sells at budget price we shouldn’t complain too much, though. What counts is the quality of the music and of the music-making, and in these respects I am more than satisfied. As with Thilo Dahlmann I look forward to hearing more from Kay Stiefermann. This disc is an excellent calling-card.

Göran Forsling

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger