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Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Dichterliebe op. 48
Heinrich HEINE (1797-1856)
Lyrisches Intermezzo

Cornelia Horak (soprano)
Stefan Gottfried (piano)
Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz (recitation)
rec. 25-27 September 2014, Studio Tonal, Vienna
German texts enclosed

Heinrich Heine wrote Lyrisches Intermezzo in 1822 – 1823 and it was published as part of his Das Buch der Lieder. It consists of a prologue and 65 poems. In 1840 Robert Schumann set some of the poems to music and published them under the collective title Dichterliebe in 1844. Originally he set twenty of the poems but only sixteen were included in the published version. Cornelia Horak and her husband Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz had the idea “to hold dialogue with [their] respective talents”. She is a singer, he is a speaker. When she sings the Schumann cycle, she 'reacts' to poems from the Lyrisches Intermezzo not set to music in the cycle, "and this reaction turns out to be a surprising enrichment." Dichterliebe is most often heard with male singers but in fact the work was dedicated to the famous soprano Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, so “the precedent for performance by a female voice is primary”, as Wikipedia says.

The sixteen songs in the cycle are performed here in the usual chronological order, interspersed with thirteen other poems from Lyrisches Intermezzo. It is a discriminating choice where the poems interact with the adjacent songs.

The programme opens with Stefan Gottfried playing Nordisches Lied from Album für die Jugend and Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz reading the prelude to the third edition of Lyrisches Intermezzo. This is followed by a fine reading of Schumann’s Arabeske and Heine’s prologue. The first four songs in Dichterliebe, which are also the first four poems of Lyrisches Intermezzo are sung as a unit. Then follows Dein Angesicht, the fifth poem, which Schumann also set but never included in the cycle. Here it is read by Mr Wagner-Trenkwitz. The programme ends with Heine’s prelude to the second edition to Lyrisches Intermezzo followed by Der Dichter spricht from Kinderszenen.
All this forms a coherent programme that no doubt conveys deeper insight into the worlds of Heine and Schumann. The recitations are recorded with Mr Wagner-Trenkwitz very close to the microphone, which guarantees that all the words, all the nuances, can be savoured. Excellent diction, a manly, beautiful voice and exquisite timing are further assets. Cornelia Horak is also a sensitive interpreter with well-judged nuances and admirable soft singing. At forte and in the upper reaches her tone occasionally takes on some hardness, but generally these are very attractive readings. In the more powerful songs her intensity is truly tangible and there is wonderful contrast between the dark male voice and the sometimes vulnerable soprano. Most touching of all is her rendition of Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet, sung as a whisper with a crescendo on the last sentence. The last of the Heine poems, Nacht lag auf meinen Augen, read as a dialogue, is also moving.

Stefan Gottfried is an excellent accompanist with expressive playing in the many postludes. He comes to the fore in the two stylishly played piano pieces.

The whole programme is an interesting approach and a deeply engaging experience. For non-German speakers it may be of limited interest since the printed texts are in German only.

Göran Forsling

Track listing
1. Schumann Nordisches Lied (Album für die Jugend, Op. 68, No 41); Heine Vorrede zur dritten Auflage [4:58]
2. Schumann Arabeske, Op. 18 [6:06]
3. Heine Prolog [2:35]
4. I. Schumann/Heine Im wunderschönen Monat Mai [1:33]
5. II. Schumann/Heine Aus meinen Tränen spriessen [1:04]
6. III. Schumann/Heine Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube [0:41]
7. IV. Schumann/Heine Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’ [1:54]
8. Heine Dein Angesicht (No. V) [0:34]
9. V. Schumann/Heine Ich will meine Seele tauchen [0:58]
10. Heine Es stehen unbeweglich (No. VIII) [0:33]
11. VI. Schumann/Heine Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome [2:14]
12. Heine Du liebst mich nicht (No. XII); Die Welt ist dumm (No. XV) [0:53]
13. VII. Schumann/Heine Ich grolle nicht [1:40]
14. Heine Ja, du bist elend (No. XIX) [0:57]
15. VIII: Schumann/Heine Und wüssten’s die Blumen, die kleinen [1:20]
16. Heine Sie haben dir viel erzählet (No. XXIV) [0:36]
17. IX: Schumann/Heine Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen [1:32]
18. Heine Wir haben viel für einander gefühlt (No. XXVI) [0:39]
19. X. Schumann/Heine Hör ich das Liedchen klingen [1:50]
20. Heine Seit die Liebste (No. XXXV) [0:28]
21. XI. Schumann/Heine Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen [1:09]
22. Heine Ich habe dich geliebet (No. XLIV) [0:12]
23. XII. Schumann/Heine Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen [2:18]
24. Heine Mein Wagen (No. LIV) [0:38]
25. XIII. Schumann/Heine Ich hab' im Traum geweinet [2:58]
26. Heine Mir träumte wieder der alte Traum (No. LII) [0:42]
27. XIV. Schumann/Heine Allnächtlich im Traume [1:44]
28. Heine Der Traumgott (No. IX) [1:38]
29. XV. Schumann/Heine Aus alten Märchen [3:03]
30. Heine Nacht lag auf meinen Augen (No. LXIV) [2:04]
31. XVI. Schumann/Heine Die alten, bösen Lieder [4:38]
32. Heine Vorrede zur zweiten Auflage [3:02]
33. Schumann Der Dichter spricht (Kinderszenen op. 15, No. 13) [1:52]



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