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Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Dichterliebe, op. 48, (1840) [28:30]
Henri DUPARC (1848-1933)
Mélodies et Chansons (1868) [22:05]
Frank MARTIN (1890-1974)
Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann (1943) [19:06]
Martin Hempel (baritone)
Katharina Kegler (piano)
rec. 24-25 January, 3 May 2015, Aula Donnerbaum, Muttenz BL (Schweiz)

I have lost count of how many Dichterliebe I have reviewed but it seems that another one comes almost every month. Almost all of them are good. Martin Hempel's version at first felt a little low-key, careful, no big gestures. He has an agreeable light lyric baritone, and he is attentive to nuance. The first five songs suit him well. He darkens the tone in Im Rhein im heil’gen Strome but seems underpowered. The same goes for Ich grolle nicht, where he also takes the lower option at the climax, which robs the song of its thrill. It is well sung but a fraction tame. In Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen things change, however. There is more intensity, he sounds uninhibited and close to ideally involved. And then the gems follow suit: Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen involved, Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen inward, Ich hab‘ im Traum geweinet with tragic undertone, Allnächtlich im Traume plaintive. Finally Die alten bösen Lieder is manly, sensitive and touching and the postlude is lyrical and restrained. This is a reading that grows and the latter half is deeply moving.

In a way his voice and manners are even better suited to Duparc’s world. The atmosphere, the fragrances of these songs are caught to perfection and the five songs chosen are more or less la crème de la crème.

Frank Martin‘s Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann by Hugo von Hofmannsthal are among his most performed works (review). Jedermann was first performed at Zirkus Schumann in Berlin under the direction of Max Reinhardt in 1911 and since the inauguration of the Salzburg Festival in 1920 has been performed there annually ever since. Martin set the six monologues in 1943 for baritone (or alto) with piano accompaniment and in 1949 orchestrated them. Martin had been searching for some suitable texts for a commission by baritone Max Christmann and now found these “which were so complete in themselves, that they summarized in a moving way the psychological and mental development of the main character – beginning with the creature's fear of death up to his perfect surrender in trust in forgiveness, his gradual detachment from earthly things, and his ascent in fear and sorrow into the spiritual world.”

They are not easy to bring off and the vitriolic dissonances don’t fall easily on the ears. Repeated hearings and familiarity with the songs will no doubt make them more accessible. Martin Hempel’s readings would have gained from a more muscular approach.

He is much more to his advantage in the concluding Litanei by Schubert which gets an inward reading.

The overriding impression of this somewhat sprawling programme is strongly positive with basically mature readings. It’s a pity though that there are no lyrics enclosed.

Göran Forsling
Previous review: Michael Cookson

Track Listing
Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856)
1. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai [1:29]
2. Aus meinen Tränen spriessen [0:54]
3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne [0:36]
4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh‘ [1:44]
5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen [0:55]
6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome [2:27]
7. Ich grolle nicht [1:32]
8. Und wüssten’s die Blumen, die kleinen [1:15]
9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen [1:39]
10. Hör ich das Liedchen klingen [1:54]
11. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen [0:58]
12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen [2:32]
13. Ich hab‘ im Traum geweinet [2:41]
14. Allnächtlich im Träume [1:20]
15. Aus alten Märchen [2:21]
16. Die alten, bösen Lieder [4:10]
Henri DUPARC (1848 – 1933)
Mélodies et Chansons:
17. Chanson triste [3:06]
18. Sérénade [2:16]
19. L’invitation au voyage [4:10]
20. Extase [3:20]
21. Phidylé [4:51]
Frank MARTIN (1890 – 1974)
Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann:
22. Ist als zu End das Freudenmahl [3:55]
23. Ach Gott, wie graust mir vor dem Tod [3:55]
24. Ist als wenn eins gerufen hätt [2:27]
25. So wollt ich ganz zernichtet sein [2:11]
26. Ja! Ich glaub: Solches hat er vollbracht [2:35]
27. O ewiger Gott! O göttliches Gesicht [4:02]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828)
28. Litanei [4:05]


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