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Liszt: Lieder / Ruth Ziesak, Gerold Huber


Release Date: 08/12/2008 
Label:  Berlin Classics   Catalog #: 16282   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth ZiesakGerold Huber
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I was highly delighted with these assured performances.

“His lieder with piano accompaniment should not be brushed aside as mere trivialities.” Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

From Liszt’s vast corpus of mainly solo piano works there are, by my reckoning, some eighty or so songs. They set texts by his favourite, mainly German poets: Heinrich Heine, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller and also other nationalities such as Nikolaus Lenau, Victor Hugo et al.

Liszt’s lieder cannot claim to be to the same elevated standard as those of his contemporaries: Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn but they make rewarding listening. Certainly they are more than a mere sideline to his huge compositional
Read more output. Liszt took the composition of his songs seriously and music writer Kathrin Feldmann expresses the opinion that, “Franz Liszt viewed his songs with a great deal of objectivity and a critical-constructive position.”A Through his lieder it is possible to chart the development of Liszt’s compositional style from illustrative tone-painting to a more economical form of expression for his love of literature. A check on the compositional dates reveals that the settings emanate predominantly from Liszt’s Weimar Years (1848-61).

The German soprano Ruth Ziesak studied in Frankfurt and began her singing career as a member of the Heidelberg Municipal Theatre. By the early 1990s Ziesak had established an international career in lyric soprano operatic roles, also in lieder and in concert performances. She is an impressive lieder performer and demonstrates here her mellow timbre and enviable tuning. Her secure technique only rarely threatens to loosen under pressure, such as in the testing Wieder möcht' ich dir begegnen.

Of the many highlights I especially enjoyed the opening song, the celebrated Die drei Zigeuner with its striking piano introduction. Ziesak demonstrates a remarkably assured delivery throughout the varying moods of the challenging score. In the Vergiftet sind meine Lieder Ziesak is dramatic, soaring to the heavens and she delivers a beautifully rapturous interpretation of the famous Die Loreley.

Die stille Wasserrose is buoyantly powerful and dramatic and I was highly satisfied with the passionate outpourings of both Der du von dem Himmel bist and Mignons Lied. I enjoyed Ziesak’s beautiful singing in the melancholic Es muß ein Wunderbares sein and was delighted with her confidence and boldly vigorous performance of Ihr Auge. Few could fail to be impressed with her performance of Liszt’s melodious setting O lieb, solang du lieben kannst – one that he later arranged into the famous solo piano score Liebesträume No. 3, S541.

In the catalogue of Liszt lieder recordings one of the most enduring versions has been the 1979-80 London performances on EMI from the eminent mezzo Dame Janet Baker accompanied by the impressive Geoffrey Parsons. Dame Janet splendidly interprets a fine selection of twelve lieder on a double set on EMI Classics 5 73836-2 (c/w Schumann 12 lieder (Barenboim, piano) and Mendelssohn 16 lieder). I note that the EMI set duplicates half of the twelve songs contained on Ziesak’s disc. See the track listing in the footnotes.B

For those wishing to explore more of Liszt’s vocal music I can also recommend a disc of a selection of Liszt’s twenty-six extant orchestral songs performed by various soloists accompanied by the Hungarian State Orchestra conducted by András Kórodi. The disc was recorded in 1985 in Budapest on Hungaroton HCD 12105. The track details are listed in the notes below.C

I was highly delighted with these assured performances from the outstanding soprano Ruth Ziesak and her impeccable accompanist Gerold Huber. Recorded in Cologne, the sound quality achieved by the Berlin Classics engineers is excellent. Although this set includes an English translation of the splendid essay we are denied an English translation of the German song texts. This is an omission that seems disrespectful of Liszt’s strenuous efforts to set texts sensitively. It’s also a lost opportunity for English speakers to assess Ziesak’s interpretive prowess. The disc is nevertheless a likely contender for one of my 2008 Records of the Year.

-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International

Footnotes:

A Kathrin Feldmann writing in the sleeve-notes to the 2007 release of Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt Lieder performed by Konrad Jarnot (baritone) and Alexander Schmalcz (piano) on Oehms Classics OC 804.

B Lieder
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo); Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

ADD remastered, recorded at Abbey Road studios, London 1979-80 from EMI Classics 5 73836-2 (c/w Lieder Schumann & Mendelssohn): Die Loreley; Du bist wie eine Blume; S'il est un charmant gazon; Im Rhein im schönen Strome; Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh; Der du von dem Himmel bist; Es war ein König in Thule; Freudvoll und leidvoll; Die Drei Zigeuner; Das Veilchen; Die Vätergruft; Die Fischerstochter.

C Orchestral Songs

Ilona Tokody (soprano); Tamara Takács (mezzo-soprano); Klára Takács (mezzo-soprano); András Molnár (tenor) & Sándor Sólyom-Nagy (baritone) with Zoltán Dõry (violin). Hungarian State Orchestra conducted by András Kórodi. DDD, recorded 1985 on Hungaroton HCD 12105: Die Loreley, S369 (Heinrich Heine); Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, S373 (Alexandre Dumas Sr.); Mignons Lied, S370 (Johann Wolfgang Goethe); Three Songs from Wilhelm Tell, S372 (Friedrich Schiller): a) Der Fischerknabe; b) Der Hirt & c) Der Alpenjäger; Die drei Zigeuner, S374 (Nikolaus Lenau).

General:

As part of the International Music Score Library Project, Wikipedia (the free on-line encyclopedia) hold a detailed and helpful ‘List of Compositions by Franz Liszt’ that evidently contains additions to Humphrey Searle’s 1966 list made by Sharon Winklhofer and Leslie Howard. In two sections the list of Searle numbers (S) run from S.1-S.350 and S.351-S.999. This list proves to be valuable tool for Lisztians.

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Works on This Recording

1. Die drei Zigeuner, S 320 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
2. Du bist wie eine Blume, S 287 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1843; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
3. Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam, S 309 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855/1860; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
4. Vergiftet sind meine Lieder, S 289 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
5. Die Loreley, S 273 no 1 (1st version) by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Gerold Huber (Piano), Ruth Ziesak (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs. 
6. Ihr Glocken von Marling, S 328 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Rome, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
7. Die stille Wasserrose, S 321 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1860 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
8. Blume und Duft, S 324 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1860; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
9. Es rauschen die Winde, S 294 no 1 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
10. Ich möchte hingehen, S 296 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1860; Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 32 Secs. 
11. Gebet, S 331 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
12. Freudvoll und Leidvoll, S 280 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844/1860; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
13. Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, S 306 "Wandrers Nachtlied II" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848/1859; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
14. Der du von dem Himmel bist, S 279 "Wandrers Nachtlied III" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
15. Mignons Lied, S 275 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842/1856; Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
16. Wie singt die Lerche schön, S 312 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1856; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
17. Wieder möcht ich dir begegnen, S 322 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
18. Lasst mich ruhen, S 317 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1858; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
19. Es muss ein Wunderbares sein, S 314 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
20. Ihr Auge, S 310 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1855; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 0 Minutes 57 Secs. 
21. O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, S 298 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gerold Huber (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1845; Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Die drei Zigeuner, S320/R612
Du bist wie eine Blume (Thou art like a flower), S287/R607
Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam, S309/1/R599a
Vergiftet sind meine Lieder, S289/R608: Vergiftet sind meine Lieder (Poisoned are my songs), S289/R608
Die Loreley, S273/2/R591b
Ihr Glocken von Marling, S328/R621
Die stille Wasserrose, S321/R613
Blume und Duft, S324/616
Es rauschen die Winde, S294/2/596b
Ich mochte hingehn, S296/R606
Gebet (In Stunden der Entmutigung), S331/R628
Freudvoll und Leidvoll, S280/1/R579a (1st setting): Freudvoll und Leidvoll, S280/1/R579a
Uber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, S306/1/R610a
Der du von dem Himmel bist, S279/1/R568a (1st version): Der du von dem Himmel bist, S279/1/R568a
Mignons Lied (Kennst du das Land), S275/1/R592a
Wie singt die Lerche schon, S312/R595
Wieder mocht ich dir begegnen, S322/R614
Lasst mich ruhen, S314/R604
Es muss ein Wunderbares sein, S314/R590
Nimm einen Strahl der Sonne (Ihr Auge), S310/R600
Liebestraume: No. 3. O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, S298/R589: Liebestraume: No. 3: O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, S298/R589

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