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Schreker: Lieder / Schmidt, Nadelmann, Baianu


Release Date: 03/14/2006 
Label:  Arte Nova   Catalog #: 721260   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Schreker
Performer:  Andreas SchmidtAdrian BaianuNoëmi Nadelmann
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHREKER Gesänge , op. 2. 1,2 Gedichte von Paul Heyse. 2 Lieder , op. 4. 1 Lieder aus dem “Mutterliedern.” 1 Des Meeres und die Liebe Wellen. 2 Lied der Fiorina. 1 Ein Rosenblatt. 2 Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Vernichtet ist mein Lebensglück. 1 Entführung. 2 Ave Maria (1902). 1 Ave Maria (1909). 1 Das feurige Männlein. 2 Und wie mag die Liebe 2 Noëmi Nadelmann (sop); 1 Andreas Schmidt (bar); 2 Adrian Baianu (pn) ARTE NOVA 721260 (66:44)


Apart from a two-disc survey of Franz Schreker’s complete songs on Channel Classics with Jochen Kupfer, Ofelia Sala, and Anne Buter, and accompanied by Reinild Mees, this Arte Nova release is the most complete collection of the composer’s Lieder currently available. Most reviews of the Channel Classics series regarded it as dutiful at best, and caviled at the mediocre singing. Nor was it truly complete, because four (rather important) songs from the present album appear here on disc for the first time. Indeed, a far different and better impression emerges from this, more tightly organized program, divided equally between student compositions and compositions of his early maturity, than we have ever had before of Schreker as a composer of art song.


The chief improvement is the singing, especially first-class in the case of Andreas Schmidt, whose voice has a warm bloom throughout this recording, a satisfying buzz on the bottom, velvet sheen in his middle range, and a smooth, unstrained top.


He is joined here by young Swiss soprano Noëmi Nadelmann, who occasionally shows an attractive bloom at full voice, but just as often a somewhat wispy tone around the edges, with a metallic edge in her upper registers, and a wide vibrato with occasional dry spreading at full volume. Her sense of phrasing, though, is apt, and her voice has ingratiating warmth in soft passages. In short, she is a hard working and conscientious singer, but is sometimes let down by uneven vocal timbre. Pianist Adrian Baianu, a faculty member of the Musikhochschule in Munich and student of some of the leading Lied specialists on his instrument, projects a firm and convincing concept of these songs, delineating their subtle balance between late 19th-century conventions and the impressionistic that are trademarks of the composer. Microphone balancing places the singers artificially forward, so he never obtrudes, though the sound of the piano is natural.


The selections on this disc might be considered a kind of cross section of Schreker’s career. Most glaringly missing are his masterful set of five songs for alto/mezzo and piano, from 1909, which he arranged for orchestra in 1922, and his last two songs, the Zwei lyrische Gesänge on texts by Walt Whitman, the only songs he wrote after 1920. But completists will also note that the two “Songs on the Death of a Child,” op. 5, with texts by Mia Holm (author of the “Mother Songs” cycle included here), one of the three Vincent Zusner songs from 1899, and the eight songs, op.7, are also absent.


The first 11 songs on the disc, including ops. 2, 3, and 4, are all early, student works written before the composer’s 21st birthday, and long before he became the second most important opera composer in German-speaking Europe (next to Strauss). The works with opus numbers all stem from 1899–1901. Taken with authority by Andreas Schmidt, the op. 2 songs sound like a cross between Mahler’s Wunderhorn songs and Wolf, with somewhat more of the latter’s penchant for floating chromaticism. The second, in particular, has a convincing sweep. The fourth of the Paul Heyse odes has a more pungent chromaticism, hinting at the exoticism that would mark the composer’s mature, operatic style. The Wunderhorn element returns as a kind of riding/hunting horn motive in the first of the two Zusner songs on the disc, Ein Rosenblatt.


Sung by Nadelmann, the five “Mother Songs,” which Grove identifies as his op. 5, stem from the composer’s 20th year (1898). The fourth of these, “Ich hab in Sorgen,” is particularly moving and introspective, showing a high level of accomplishment for so inexperienced a composer. Four of the songs on the disc are from his raw teenaged years, with the earliest, Des Meeres und die Liebe Wellen , composed when he was 16. These songs do not yet show the assured command of extended chromaticism that marks his operatic style; that is reflected by the later songs on this album. Another very early song, the Lied der Fiorina , does not sit well in Nadelmann’s voice, though she does her best to give it a warm realization, perhaps unmasking some awkwardness in the writing of the 16-year old composer.


The last five songs on the disc are all selected from his adulthood, and from these contexts can be drawn. Entführung , with a text by Schoenberg’s favorite expressionist poet, Stefan George, is hauntingly atmospheric and chromatically nebulous, almost Debussian at times in its mood. Andreas Schmidt’s understated performance threads its way and provides the clearest argument of any cut on this recording that Schreker was growing into one of the most interesting and original Lied composers of his generation, if only he wished to pursue it more than he did.


The two Ave Maria settings, both recorded for the first time here and sung with great delicacy by Nadelmann, are marked by references to a kind of “churchy” contrapuntalism in the first song and bell-like piano chords in the second, but come across more as fin-de-siècle love songs. The self-conscious evocation of religious atmosphere suggests that they are “staged” prayers more than direct expressions of piety.


Also a premiere, the disturbedly chromatic and limping Das feurige Männlein , to a text by Alfons Petzold, is described in the notes as both a rewrite of Wolf’s famous Feuerreiter and as a study for his 1919 pyromaniac opera Irrelohe . Schmidt adopts a light vocal approach appropriate to its histrionic mania.


No texts and translations are provided, a shame in that few of these texts will be familiar even to devotees of the art-song literature. This disc, however, is of more than passing interest. It is hard to imagine an interpretively better solution to these songs, especially for those taken by Schmidt. On Arte Nova, the price is right, so it belongs in the collection of any fan of turn-of-the-century Austro-German music.


FANFARE: Christopher Williams
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Works on This Recording

1.
Gesänge (2), Op. 2: no 1, Sommerfäden by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1899; Austria 
Language: German 
2.
Gesänge (2), Op. 2: no 2, Stimmen des Tages by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Noëmi Nadelmann (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1899; Austria 
Language: German 
3.
Gedichte (5) von Paul Heyse, Op. 3 by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1899; Austria 
Language: German 
4.
Lieder (5), Op. 4 by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Noëmi Nadelmann (Soprano), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1899; Austria 
Language: German 
5.
Lieder (5) aus den 'Mutterliedern' by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Noëmi Nadelmann (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1899; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
6.
Des Meeres und die Liebe Wellen by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 
7.
Lied der Fiorina by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Noëmi Nadelmann (Soprano), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1896; Austria 
Language: German 
8.
Liebeslieder (2): no 1, Waldeinsamkeit by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897; Austria 
Language: German 
9.
Liebeslieder (2): no 2, Überwunden by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897; Austria 
Language: German 
10.
Lieder (3): no 1, Ein Rosenblatt by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; Austria 
Language: German 
11.
Lieder (3): no 3, Vernichtet ist mein Lebensglück by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Noëmi Nadelmann (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; Austria 
Language: German 
12.
Entführung by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Austria 
Language: German 
13.
Ave Maria (1902) by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Noëmi Nadelmann (Soprano), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902; Austria 
Language: German 
14.
Ave Maria (1909) by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Noëmi Nadelmann (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Austria 
Language: German 
15.
Das feurige Männlein by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Andreas Schmidt (Baritone), Adrian Baianu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Austria 
Language: German 
16.
Und wie mag die Liebe by Franz Schreker
Performer:  Adrian Baianu (Piano), Andreas Schmidt (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Austria 
Language: German 

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