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Strauss: Vier Letzte Lieder, Etc / Jarnot, Deutsch

Release Date: 11/08/2005 
Label:  Oehms   Catalog #: 518   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Konrad JarnotHelmut Deutsch
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Baritone Konrad Jarnot is yet another in the apparently inexhaustible stream of fine baritones that include Matthias Goerne, Thomas Quasthoff, Christopher Maltman, and Bryn Terfel. His previous recitals, devoted to Brahms, Mahler, Zilcher, and one that presages this one, a version of Ravel?s Shéhérazade arranged for baritone and piano, have gotten generally positive reviews in Fanfare. He is obviously a very fine singer with a great curiosity about music. This recital, devoted to three complete sets of Richard Strauss songs, is excellent. The op. Read more 10 songs, setting texts by Hermann von Gilm, include what has to be one of the most famous ?first? songs in history, Zueignung, along with several others that have been mainstays of the concert stage for over a century. This recording presents what is claimed as only the second ever recording of the rejected ?Wer hats getan,? here given as number seven of the set. The op. 27 songs, Strauss?s wedding gift to soprano Pauline de Ahna at their wedding in 1894, is probably the most famous complete set in his large output of piano-accompanied songs. Equally famous are the Vier Letzte Lieder for soprano and orchestra, written at the very end of the composer?s long life and one of the supreme masterpieces of the genre. Obviously, since we have neither a soprano nor an orchestra here, what we hear are arrangements?by Max Wolf and Ernst Roth as revised by both Alexander Freise and pianist Helmut Deutsch.

It is idle to pretend that any baritone, even one as accomplished as Jarnot, is going to have the soaring ease of a lyric soprano in any of these songs (Strauss did, after all, marry a soprano, and most of his songs seem to respond best to that voice, regardless of the text), but the singer does very well by them. He is able to lighten his voice sufficiently to carry off the melismatic writing with a minimum of strain. Any piano reduction of the Vier letzte Lieder , even one as skilled as the one presented here, is going to seem like a sketch compared to one of the composer?s most cunning and luminous orchestral scores. Also, regardless of the fact that Strauss specified the Wagnerian Kirsten Flagstad for the premiere, the songs usually respond better to a more silvery voice, something not to be found in any baritone. Still, within such strictures, Jarnot makes a very good case for hearing the music like this. The songs are much less ethereal, much more concerned with the earth and life than the four seasons of ecstatic departure more commonly heard.

Drawbacks are a rather short program and, scandalously, a complete absence of either texts or translations of any of the lyrics. Fine sound. Recommended.

FANFARE: John Story
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Works on This Recording

Lieder (8), Op. 10 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Helmut Deutsch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Germany 
Lieder (4), Op. 27 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Helmut Deutsch (Piano), Konrad Jarnot (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
Four Last Songs, AV 150 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Helmut Deutsch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1948; Germany 

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