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C. Schumann: Complete Songs / Gritton, Loges, Asti


Release Date: 04/10/2007 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55275   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Stephan LogesSusan GrittonEugene Asti
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


If by chance you already own the formerly "complete" songs of Clara Schumann on a Bayer recording from 1991, with soprano Isabel Lippitz and pianist Deborah Richards, it's time for an update. In the early 1990s, more of Clara's songs were discovered (a process that's ongoing), and this excellent new "complete" collection adds to the canon two previously unpublished pieces and two alternate versions of existing songs. Anyone who cares about lieder singing and repertoire must have this disc. Susan Gritton (who also is featured on Hyperion's excellent set of Fanny Mendelssohn songs) has a richer and heftier voice than both Lippitz and Geraldine McGreevy, who appears in Hyperion's
Read more newly released Vol. 6 of its complete songs of Robert Schumann, where she performs Clara's Six "Jucunde" Lieder (type Q4920 in Search Reviews). She uses her voice's strong presence and characterful, colorful timbre to great expressive effect, and her delivery is so commanding and "right" for the texts and Schumann's uniformly well-conceived musical settings that you can't help but fall in love with this music--and wonder why more world-class singers don't adopt these songs into their repertoire. There's no question of quality: Schumann could write a song as well as anyone--including her husband, or Schubert, or Brahms--and again, in hearing these performances (or any of those by the abovementioned Lippitz or McGreevy--or Christina Högman on BIS) you realize once more how (until relatively recently) factors of gender and custom conspired to deprive the general music world of some really fine works.


Wisely, Hyperion has chosen to divide the 29 songs between Gritton and baritone Stephan Loges (who performs elsewhere in the label's Robert Schumann series). Loges is a master interpreter whose warm yet spicy and resonant quality is perfectly suited to these romantic, introspective, thoughtful pieces to texts by poets such as Rückert, Goethe, and Heine. Equally important, he brings yet another level of interpretive artistry along with a rare male perspective to these songs (until now almost exclusively sung by women). How can you not immediately fall under the spell of the gentle "Liebst du um Schönheit" (If you love for beauty) or be entranced by the exquisitely lovely melody of "Warum willst du and're fragen?", a song with all the grace and memorable beauty of Schubert's most heartfelt efforts? And I defy anyone to find a more touching song than "Ich stand in dunklen Träumen" (with text by Heinrich Heine)--another of Loges' perfectly gauged expressions. Gritton adds her own considerable skills to the following "Sie liebten sich beide"--and so it goes, from the lighthearted, lilting "Liebeszauber" (Love's magic) to "Ich hab' in deinem Auge" (sung by Loges) to the six "Jucunde" lieder, all of which are performed by Gritton.


It's here that we notice significant differences between these and other interpretations--these songs are the most often heard and recorded. For the most part, Gritton has the edge over her competitors--she's more fully engaged emotionally and does far more with inflection and phrasing. Nevertheless, both McGreevy and Lippitz more properly judge the weight and pacing of "An einem lichten Morgen": Gritton's version is just too matter of fact, as she and her accompanist fail to indulge the melodic and harmonic lushness to full effect. Also, her "Geheimes Flüstern hier und dort" misses the crucial contrast of melodic rhythm against the accompaniment. Gritton seems to be trying to make her line "fit" when in fact it should just flow easily against the piano triplet figures. The result is a choppy rather than smooth vocal melody. But these are relatively minor points in an overall program that makes the most convincing case yet for Clara Schumann's deserved place among the best composers in the world of lieder. The sound is warm, clear, and ideally balanced between piano and voice. Eugene Asti must be highly commended for his consistently artful, sensitive, attentive, technically assured performances--absolutely first rate. Song fans--don't delay. Singers, what are you waiting for? [4/15/2002]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Reviewing original Hyperion release Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Lieder (3), Op. 12 by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Stephan Loges (Baritone), Susan Gritton (Soprano), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Language: German 
2.
Lieder (6), Op. 13 by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Susan Gritton (Soprano), Stephan Loges (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842-1843; Germany 
Language: German 
3.
Lieder aus Jucunde (6), Op. 23 by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Susan Gritton (Soprano), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
Language: German 
4.
Walzer by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Stephan Loges (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1834; Germany 
Language: German 
5.
Der Abendstern by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Stephan Loges (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830s; Germany 
Language: German 
6.
Am Strande by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Susan Gritton (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Language: German 
7.
Lieder (6), Op. 13: no 2, Sie liebten sich Beide by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Stephan Loges (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842-1843; Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Ver: first version (unpublished) 
8.
Volkslied by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Susan Gritton (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Language: German 
9.
Mein Stern by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Susan Gritton (Soprano), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Germany 
Language: German 
10.
O weh des scheidens by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Susan Gritton (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
Language: German 
11.
Die gute Nacht by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Stephan Loges (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
Language: German 
12.
Lorelei, Op. 53 no 2 by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Susan Gritton (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
Language: German 
13.
Das Veilchen by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Eugene Asti (Piano), Stephan Loges (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
Language: German 
14.
Der Wanderer by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Susan Gritton (Soprano), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Germany 
Language: German 
15.
Der Wanderer in der Sägemühle by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Stephan Loges (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Germany 
Language: German 
16.
Beim Abschied by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Stephan Loges (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Germany 
Language: German 
17.
Lieder (6), Op. 13: no 1, Ich stand in dunkeln Träumen "Ihr Bildnis" by Clara Wieck Schumann
Performer:  Stephan Loges (Baritone), Eugene Asti (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Composition written: Germany (1842 - 1843). 

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