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Webern: Lieder / Christiane Oelze, Eric Schneider


Release Date: 03/03/2009 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 447103   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric SchneiderChristiane Oelze
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Webern’s songs are quiet and mostly brief (there are 40 of them here in the space of 76 minutes). They are intimate, ethereal, more concerned with distilling subtle emotional states than with telling stories or painting pictures. Christiane Oelze’s voice and musicianship are well suited to them. Her voice is not large, but by careful control of dynamics she can easily encompass those infrequent moments where a big phrase or an ample gesture is required. The sound is pure and bright, and her sense of line is as admirable as her intonation. If anything, I was even more impressed by her pianist, an artist of great intelligence, refinement and command of colour. The recording balances them very well, not tempted by Oelze’s confiding manner to Read more come too close.

The first mature songs here are those with opus numbers, the three earlier sets an account of how that maturity was achieved. In the two outer songs of the Drei Gedichte (charming, lyrical epigrams both, like thinned-down Wolf) we already hear a prediction of Webern’s later manner, but the central setting of Richard Dehmel’s “Nachtgebet der Braut” might be by another composer, with its four verses of overheated Wagnerian passion. Even here, though, another composer would surely have done even more, and by the Acht fruhe Lieder (texts by various poets) and the Funf Lieder (all to poems by the frequently overheated Dehmel) decadent imagery is subjected to the most refined counterpoint and motivic interplay, for some tastes ‘miniaturizing’ the poems in the process, but at the same time developing a spare, tonally rootless language for the three sets of Stefan George poems (Opp. 3, 4 and the posthumously published Vier Lieder). Here the words are not so much illustrated as followed with extreme care, the poet’s rhythms often prompting those of the music, whose counterpoint and imitation are a parallel to the text, not an overtly emotional response to it. Here the match between Oelze’s voice and Webern’s manner is very close: both are pale and a touch chilly.

For me, real urgency only arrives with serialism and the last three sets of songs on this disc. With it arrives also fantasy, wit and a feeling of being at ease with the past; now Webern can make subtle but unmistakable allusions to (among others) Bachian aria and Viennese Landler (this latter hint beautifully picked up by Oelze and Schneider). And by now he is also choosing poems, either very simple or exaltedly religious, that are ideally suited to his distilled, immaculate precision. Webern became a great songwriter with Op. 12, but the path to that achievement is absorbingly charted in these carefully studied performances.

-- Michael Oliver, Gramophone [4/1996]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Lieder (5), Op. 3 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908-1909; Austria 
2.
George Lieder (5), Op. 4 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
3.
Lieder (4), Op. 12 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1917; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Avenarius Lieder (3) by Anton Webern
Performer:  Christiane Oelze (Soprano), Eric Schneider (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1904; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Jone Lieder (3), Op. 25 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; Austria 
6.
Poems (3) by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899-1903; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Early Lieder (8) by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1904; Austria 
8.
Dehmel Lieder (5) by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1908; Vienna, Austria 
9.
George Lieder (4) by Anton Webern
Performer:  Eric Schneider (Piano), Christiane Oelze (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908-1909; Austria 

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