Markus Stenz and the Gürzenich Orchestra Köln have demonstrated a special aptitude for performing large scale post-Romantic works, notably the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, which they recorded for Oehms Classics as a series of hybrid SACDs. They have followed that impressive cycle with what is probably the most Mahlerian work Arnold Schoenberg ever composed, the massive Gurrelieder for solo voices, multiple choruses, and large orchestra. This 2015 Hyperion release is impressive in its crisp details, vibrant tone colors, and startling clarity, all of which are evident in the opening instrumental passages in the Prelude, and which continue through the nearly operatic vocal parts, which have remarkable presence in the face of an orchestra that exceeds Wagnerian proportions. The recording is presented on two CDs that offer extraordinary sound for digital stereo, and the only disappointment is that this wasn't released as a multichannel recording. Listeners who find Schoenberg's modernist music difficult may be more receptive to this cantata, which is his most openly Romantic score and strongly reminiscent of Wagner's music dramas. Highly recommended.
After her sumptuous album of Strauss songs with orchestra, soprano Diana Damrau marks the bicentenary of Liszt’s birth with an album of his most celebrated songs in German and Italian, accompanied by pianist Helmut Deutsch.
"Glitzerndes Geschmeide aus feinsten vokalen Halbedelsteinen." ~KLASSIK heute
"Dass Prégardien zu den ganz großen lyrischen Tenören unserer Zeit gehört, ist seiner Interpretation durchweg anzumerken: Er überzeugt durch eine ungemein stimmungsvolle, technisch makellose Wiedergabe, er arbeitet mit feinsten Nuancen, die er bei souveräner Stimmbeherrschung in fast allen Lagen zur subtilen Ausleuchtung der Liedtexte anwendet… Gees erweist sich als sehr sensibler und aufmerksamer Begleiter, der mit weichem und doch sprechendem Anschlag die Stimmungen der Lieder zu erfassen und nachzuzeichnen versteht."
"The song cycles “Kerner-Lieder” op. 35 and Liederkreis op. 39 by Schumann, recorded in 1954-55 for West German Radio, are amongst the foremost examples of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s mastery of the art of Lieder singing. The listener is treated to pioneering interpretations which laid the foundations for these sets of songs to become established in the recital programmes of younger singers. In the case of the “Kerner-Lieder” this may well be the first complete recording. In both recordings Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is heard at the early zenith of his powers as regards both his vocal technique and his crafting of the songs."
The Dresden Staatskapelle has a living Bruckner tradition, stretching back a century and more, which is lovingly curated by its new music director, Christian Thielemann, who is himself a powerful advocate for the composer’s symphonies as the pinnacle of the Austro-German tradition; and in particular for the Wagnerian resonances of the Seventh, whose Adagio was shaped by news of Wagner’s death in Venice. Hugo Wolf was also deeply affected by that news; his songs, like Bruckner’s symphonies, can be seen as oblique reflections on the influence of Wagner, especially when sung, as they are here by Renée Fleming, with the utmost delicacy and intimacy.
Heinrich August Marschner was the most important composer of German opera between Weber and Wagner. To the extent that he is still remembered, it is largely for his operas Hans Heiling (1833), Der Vampyr (1828), and Der Templer und die Jüdin (1829), extremely popular in his lifetime. Marschner’s ability to depict supernatural horror by musical means is especially evident in the first two operas as well as in some of his ballads, such as "Die Monduhr". Next to his operas, Marschner's most significant musical contribution is to the Lied. The best of his works in this form are comparable with those by Carl Loewe.
Fritz Wunderlich could be considered the James Dean of the singing world – a young, charismatic performer who suffered a tragic death at the height of his career and abilities, and whose posthumous reputation has grown beyond that which he was able to enjoy during his short life. Considered among the finest Mozartean tenors of his day, Wunderlich embraced a wide repertory that expanded to included the works of Strauss, Schubert, Bach, and Mahler, and he left behind many excellent recordings that have been the primary source of his legacy…
Swedish Mezzo-soprano and former winner of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, Katarina Karnéus is joined on this disc by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki to perform three of Gustav Mahler’s orchestral songs. As a composer, Gustav Mahler was absorbed by song and symphony as complementary genres deeply involved with each other. In his first symphony, Mahler included two themes from the song cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, originally scored for voice and piano, which he had recently composed to his own poems. It was perhaps the experience of orchestrating these themes in his symphony that a few years later inspired Mahler to create the version for voice and orchestra.