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Jugendstil Songs 1898-1916
Camilla Tilling (soprano)
Paul Rivinius (piano)
rec. 2018, Bavaria Musikstudios, Munich, Germany
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
BIS BIS-2414 SACD [66:13]

Camilla Tilling’s previous solo recordings have encompassed lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Richard Strauss and Nordic songs. To this can also be added a wonderful disc with arias by Mozart and Gluck, which was one of my Recordings of the Year a couple of years ago. On her latest offering she has ventured into the German songs of the Jugend era, roughly from the turn of the century 1900 to the beginning of the Great War – with one exception which I’ll come back to. The last time I heard her live, which was in the autumn of 2017, a half year before the present recording was made, and her voice was still in mint condition, just as youthfully fresh as she was when she made her debut almost 25 years ago. The same freshness permeates her singing here as well, slightly more vibrant, which adds to her expressivity. The handful of Korngold songs, which open the recital are ideally suited to her voice, and I can’t remember hearing them better sung than here. They are marvellous songs and one recognises the composer’s very personal fingerprints, just as prominent here as in his operas – remember the heroines in Die tote Stadt, Das Wunder der Heliane and the late operetta Die Kathrine. Schneeglöckchen is a lovely song, as are both Das Ständchen and Sommer – the latter sung with true glow. But it is Liebesbriefchen and Glückwunsch that evoke memories of those opera heroines I mentioned – the unabashed romantic extravagances that wrap you up in a larger-than-life fantasy world. It is Glückwunsch that is the odd one out, since it was composed after he had left Hollywood, more than 30 years later than the other songs on this recital. Korngold was for many years a disregarded composer – due to his film music – but today he is accepted also in the best room. Camilla Tilling’s readings here contributes further to his acceptance.

Alban Berg, after studying with Schönberg, became one of the frontrunners for atonalism and twelve-tone technique. Here though, in the seven early songs, he is still under the influence of the late romantics, and these are all very accessible, even for those who invariably take exception to “modernism”. They should have a listen to Die Nachtigall, an old favourite of mine even when I in my youth was sceptical to 20th century music. Camilla Tilling’s magical singing should convert even the most stubborn. And continue with Traumgekrönt, just as magical – and then you should be hooked.

Alexander Zemlinsky is probably the least known of the composers in this programme and he should certainly be better known. These charming Waltz-songs, which are the earliest in this collection, are short, almost miniatures – none is longer than 1:48 – and the whole bunch is totally charming. Schönberg is another that many “traditional” listeners fight shy of, but he had also a life before atonality – just as Berg – and these four should be easy to stomach as well. Just listen to the glorious singing of the short Erhebung.

Gustav Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder from just after the turn of the century, are of course the best known on this disc. Four of them were completed in August 1901 in both piano- and orchestral versions. The fifth, Liebst du um Schönheit, was written a year later as a gift to Alma Schindler, a love token. He never orchestrated it, probably regarding it as too personal, too private. Here they are recorded with piano, but a novelty is Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, the most etheric and inward of them, where the performers have opted for a violin solo, which is based on the orchestral version. It is magically played by Nicola Birkhan and the singing is just as magical. In the first song, Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft!, I get a feeling that Camilla Tilling isn’t quite comfortable, but the following four are great in every respect. Her regular accompanist Paul Rivinius obviously thinks and reacts the same way as the singer – a radar couple! Alexander Carpenter’s liner notes are excellent guides to the programme.

Göran Forsling

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897 – 1957)
From Einfache Lieder Op. 9 (1911 – 1916)
1. No. 1. Schneeglöckchen [3:05]
2. No. 3. Das Ständchen [2:10]
3. No. 4. Liebesbriefchen [2:12]
4. No. 6. Sommer [2:05]
From Fünf Lieder Op. 38 (1948)
5. No. 1. Glückwunsch [2:39]
Alban BERG (1885 – 1935)
Sieben frühe Lieder (c. 1905 – 1908) [15:39]
6. Nacht [4:00]
7. Schilflied [2:06]
8. Die Nachtigall [2:03]
9. Traumgekrönt [2:26]
10. Im Zimmer [1:14]
11. Liebesode [1:51]
12. Sommertage [1:34]
Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871 – 1942)
Walzer-Gesänge Op. 6 (1898) [7:24]
13. Liebe Schwalbe [1:26]
14. Klagen ist der Mond gekommen [1:19]
15. Fensterlein, nachts bist Du zu [0:57]
16. Ich geh des Nachts [0:45]
17. Blaues Sternlein [1:48]
18. Briefchen schrieb ich [0:54]
Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874 – 1951)
4 Lieder Op. 2 (1899) [11:17]
19. Erwartung [3:28]
20. Schenk mir Deinem goldenen Kamm [3:40]
21. Erhebung [0:54]
22. Waldsonne [3:02]
Gustav MAHLER (1860 – 1911)
Rückert-Lieder (1901 – 1902) [17:54]
23. Ich atmet‘ einen linden Duft! [2:03]
24. Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder! [1:18]
25. Liebst du um Schönheit [2:08]
26. Um Mitternacht [6:16]
27. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen [5:51]*
* Violin solo devised by the performers, based on Mahler’s orchestral version

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